mechanical repetition of previously received ideas or images

I got tiara'd by Val.
I got tiara’d by Val.

 
Dear Internet,
It’s been, as the youths say, a hella of a week. I have found snatches of conversation happening and it’s interesting how people not in the mix are putting themselves in the mix. My co-conspirator in these matters and I agreed for the time being to not discuss things publicly until we have a final resolution. In short, unless you’ve heard from one of us direct on the matter, doubt the veracity of the comment.
What was kind of hilarious about this coming to light was when I found out, I was minutes away from entering a meeting with a lawyer about another, non-related, legal matter. And my period also started in FULL BLOODY REVENGE.
So yes, it really is all about my vagina. Pay heed to the Mother Earth Goddess for she will fuck shit up.
As I already mentioned earlier this week, my piece in American Libraries came out and I’ve received my first MRA fan mail, and then the usual unfollowing on Twitter by people who thought I was shaming the troll. So, yay for that! I also found out  my piece is on the agenda for discussion at the Feminist Task Force meeting happening at ALA in June, which is tres super cool.
The response I’ve been getting has been, other than the obvious trolls, really awesome. I’ve been retweeting all the kind words people have been throwing at me and while I can probably never say this enough: Thank you all for your support.
(As an aside, I found out today some kind anonymous benefactor suggested to my pal Val, who spearheads #ProjectTira, nina and I were deserving of our own tiaras for the good work we’ve been doing. Ironically, Val had just sent me my birthday tiara (see blog image) and now another one is in the works for me. But seriously, go read up on #ProjectTiara, recommend yourself or someone you feel is deserving, or even better, donate to the project! Val is closing in on having sent nearly 100 tiaras in the last few months as the response has been overwhelming. And seriously? I had no idea wearing a tiara could make you feel so powerful. I’m totally okay with using a tool for a clutch right now.)
With so much going on, what this week really showed me was my own strength. I was commenting to a friend at lunch a few days ago not a single person has asked if I knew this was the path that was going to happen, would I have done things differently. The answer immediately came to mind was obviously ” no.”
Said friend said the reason why people haven’t asked that question is because they know me well enough to know I wouldn’t have changed the route I headed on. And I will tell you that pleased me more than punch I could hold true to my faith in what I was doing was right and even with hindsight, I still would have made those same decisions.
This was an important self-confirmation of how I viewed myself internally and what I projected on to the world were both one and the same. Justice and righting the wrongs are becoming my passions and getting external acknowledgement made me secure in that faith what I was doing was right.
I also self-confirmed the value of loyalty within myself. I could have thrown a lot of people under the bus, I could have broken a lot of confidences to save my own ass, but I could not in good conscious do that to the people depending on me.
I remark this because in this past week, people have done this to me without even a blink in a eye.  There were many who publicly offered support, but when supported was requested,  had a list a mile long of why they couldn’t do it. Even better, people I expected support from didn’t so much as move a fucking inch in either mine or nina’s direction.
That was painful to experience. The whisper network who fueled the fire were the first to fade away. I believed, naively, those holding the match would also have a bucket of sand for the dousing. My own mistake, one I will not make again in the future.
I would have made a shitty lawyer and even a worse politician, but there are ways I’m finally learning how to work the system to get things equalized, even just a little.
I can’t be too entirely boastful. There have been times this week when I wanted to crawl away from everything and just forgot what was going on. I cursed my big mouth and my tenacity to keep asking hard questions expecting them to change the world. I felt myself dip low as mania broke before rising again, but I held on with what I could to make it through. That was hard. Really hard. I grab at anything in desperation to right myself and to push forward. Drawing from this weeks experiences, and my reactions, have made me really proud. I will be holding on to that feeling for as long as I can, for I know I will need to draw from it wholly to live.
xoxo,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 1999

About my article in American Libraries on libraries, technology, and gender

amlibmag

[ed: You can read the article online, page 26, though it is it flipbook style. A direct link will be forthcoming next week.]

Dear Internet,

While I’ve known this was coming for months, and I’ve had an advanced copy for a few weeks now, today the official copy was slide into my mailbox. As it is now out in the wild, I wanted to address some things that are bothering me since the final edit a few months ago.

Most importantly: the article is horribly flawed.

After the panel at Midwinter, when it became clear other voices were not allowed to participate in the conversation including people of color,  those who do not prescribe to binary definitions of gender, and other marginalised groups, I panicked. I panicked because I did not want to present myself as the privileged, white lady feminist role of speaking for all when I was only speaking for myself. I panicked because it is important to me that others get to be a part of the discussion to, not just me.

I contacted my editor straight away and pitched an idea of less on women being marginalized and more on other types of oppression within the library technology world.

The editors felt, and I vehemently disagreed, that the focus should remain only on women in technology since that was my experience. While that is my experience, it is not the only experience that exists of the oppression and marginalization that happens to those who do not fit the white, male, able construct. I wanted to bring awareness.

That idea was rejected.

I was talked back into writing on a singular point of view with the idea more of this line of thinking could potentially come forward, hopefully by others coming to the discussion too. I agreed. I did not fight harder to be more inclusive and that embarrasses me.

I decided if I couldn’t write the article I wanted to write, I would at least be more inclusive with my language.

That language was changed and or edited out.

It’s interesting to be excited and proud creating a THING and so horribly defeatist that I didn’t do enough for that THING.

In order to work at dismantling the system, we need to make sure we are being inclusive. I was not inclusive in my piece and for that I’m deeply apologetic. My privilege was definitely showing because I could have fought harder, not written it but wrote about it somewhere else, and more. That shames me. With the upcoming book, and pieces, I will do better.

Speaking of books, as some of you already know, Sarah Houghton and I are co-editing a book on this very topic, and one of the things we’ve been doing has been inviting people (and they have been accepting — yay!) from all over the human spectrum to make sure we can get as many diverse voices into the conversation as possible.  It is going to be amazing and I cannot wait until we get it published.

 

Update: After this was published, I was notified by an anonymous person, who has done some live blogging for American Libraries magazine, that they approached the magazine to invite panelists from the Midwinter libtechgender session to write in depth about the topics that were being discussed as the live blogging was only covering the topic at a blush.  AmLib invited the blogger to extend invites to the panelists to write in as “letters to the editors” with the addendum that I, yes Lisa Rabey, would be covering these very topics in my piece and they felt I was qualified enough to write on topics I have no business writing about. Wrap this up to my panic phone call to my editor around the same time and what transpired from that conversation, it seems pretty clear to me AmLib has no intention on actually working to promote the conversation forward or by making sure that others are invited to the conversation in the first place.

LibTechGender article roundup for January 2014

Dear Internet,

Here is your curated monthly round up of stuff on library/technology/gender, covering many -isms and spaces. Citations are pulled from writer’s about pages. If you have an alternate preference, please let me know! As always, check out the #LibTechGender project for even more.

Blogs/Sites

Articles

 

Live Action Sexual Harassment Continuum

Warning: Triggering for sexual abuse, harassment, rape

Dear Internet,

I did not throw the t-shirt out. I plucked it out of the trash before leaving the hotel for good and I’ve worn it several times since. I’ve attempting to pretend nothing ever happened.

But of course this doesn’t work that way, now does it?

On the day Live Action Sexual Harassment was published, I had over a thousand page views to EPbaB for that day, when I normally get 1/5th of that on a very good day. Since that publication and taking in the history of my site since June 2012, LASH has twice as many direct page views as any other article I’ve written on any topic at any time. There has not been a day in the nearly three months since writing it that I don’t get a smattering of visitors who read it, whether it has been referenced from a direct link somewhere or from someone searching.

Today, I want to give you an update what has happened to me since that night.

  • My sex life has waned considerably. At first I dismissed it as effects of coming off of Lithium, but as time has gone on, I am finding myself more unwilling to be sexy compared to even my darkest hours. It used to be when TheHusband, who loves my boobs above anything on the planet (Admittedly, I do have a nice rack.), would stroke my breasts, it would give me great pleasure. Now, not so much. My sexuality and my desire to be sexual is very important to me. I’m working with my therapist on moving past these feelings of inadequacy.
  • I have dreams, frequently, where I’m the recipient of unwanted heavy sexual manipulation. In the example of the dream I had last night, I was seeing a doctor who could only examine me while I was unclothed and he was unclothed, his erect penis pressed up against my side, my back, my belly as he moved around me, stroking me as he probed and touched. As someone who used to find great enjoyment in subscribing to Penthouse Letters and watching porn, this should have been some kind of wet dream and instead, I found my dream self and my real self both simultaneously unwilling, repulsed, and frightened.
  • I’ve been told privately, and openly, by men and women, they would not have let the asshole who was assaulting me go on as it had. I was also given examples by these same men and women of other women who would “not stand for that kind of thing.” I don’t think anyone would agree I am a weak woman or unable to defend myself, but these comments, even if the intention was not to be assholes, were assholish. After receiving one of the latest comments, I waited a good while and made vague series of comments on Twitter that to say such things was effing stupid. You have NO IDEA how you’re going to react in all manner of situations. I always thought of myself as a cool cucumber in place of high panic, because often I am the one who is that way when I’ve been with people who were in their own crisis modes, but in several situations I had no way to prepare myself, and thus was in panic mode supreme, forever cured me of that illusion.
  • Men, often well known men in certain circles, writing they had no idea such travesties were occurring in the work place, at conferences, etc despite the fact they were told repeatedly of such things and still denied it was happening until they heard it from a woman of note discussing it. It is striking to me that the ONLY way to get the point across is if someone of note brings it across. As someone who is not of note, being dismissed of my experiences that do not represent what these men were experiencing with females in their own circle moved these men into personal circles of frenemy I did not know I needed to have.
  • Private comments told to me that many well placed male figures in the library world who promote feminist allyship publicly while sexually harassing women privately.
  • Women commenting either on blog pieces or subtexting on Twitter that since they never personally experienced sexual harassment or gender inequality, it either does not exist or exist to the degree being discussed and/or the need for ALA’s Code of Conduct is stupid.
  • Watching conversations on gender/lib/tech being had only within certain circles, with articles on the topic being promoted only within certain circles, and forgoing, either for personal reasons or other, important bits  and people of the conversation. If you want to advance the conversation, stop preaching to your acolytes and MOVE BEYOND your comfort zone. There are quite a few people I’m not terribly fond of but I try to not let personal feelings marr their work on these topics and include them without reservation.
  • I have been criticized, numerous times, that my work on these topics and in keeping content clear and concise on my sites for others is damaging and promotes the troll behaviour I portray to be so vehemently against.
  • I’ve called various disparaging names and have been personally attacked online for my writing, discussing, promoting of others work as I find it online.
  • I’ve lost “friends/followers/whatever” for calling others out if I disagreed with their stance and when discussing this topic publicly.
  • I’ve been told by various my pieces only present a singular view and therefore are not potent to the conversation as a whole.

In the 3 weeks and 6 days I was off for winter break, I left the house less than half a dozen times. I have become more isolated and withdrawn from everything and anything in the physical world. The struggle to be ME from the plundering of my brain from all the drug trials the past year vs the struggle to not be defined by 2 minutes of someone’s sexual aggression is hard. Every time I see read my own past words, watch a movie with sexual assault, or hear about sexual assault/harassment from a third party, it is like picking at the scabs of a barely closed wound. It is never not painful.

This is not a pity party. None of this is written for you to feel sorry for me. It is written to present you with facts of a singular incident in a long history of incidents. In 1999, I confessed all of my sexual pathos, including discussion of date rape, possibly familial molestation, and being beaten by past lovers. In 2011, I finally posted a piece I wrote in 2008 about the ending of an abusive relationship and the aftermath. In early 2013, I introduced the 17th anniversary of one of the first pieces I wrote on the Internet, which includes how 24 year old me’s innocence was kind of shocking in regards to being date raped.

But I know my back story, I know how I struggle with my own emotional boundaries, and all of the protection I have worked so hard has now been weakened, my borders are compromised. I start to question how even my most benign of clothing choices became the object of his attention, his needs, his wants.

Some are going to read this and think,”What’s the big effing deal? You were at a bar, some drunk asshole was a dick, you weren’t hurt physically. Get over it.” But that’s my effing point, it IS a big deal. me, Live Action Sexual Harassment

It is timely today that Jezebel, though as much as I tend to abhor that publication, Lindy West provides a anger fueled visceral, yes even in print,  take down on why we must not stop shutting up.

Anyone who genuinely cares about anything is bound to sound like a broken record from time to time. If you actually give a shit about a problem (and I don’t mean a “problem” like “the co-op is out of Honeycrisps,” I mean a PROBLEM PROBLEM), then you don’t just lodge your complaint and sit back down while the world rolls on around you. You do not shut up until that problem is fixed. You repeat and reframe and repeat and reframe and message, message, message, and eventually—hopefully—you manage to lodge that message somewhere in the public consciousness. That is how things move forward. Lindy West

As it was, so it will be; this will be fodder for future panels, for examples and illustration purposes. The cycle continues.

 

Frankenstein’s Monsters: Roundup of Responses to ALA’s Code of Conduct

Dear Internet,

Apparently this was the wrong time to take a break from social media as it is currently all enflamed about ALA’s Code of Conduct — yes, this again. It will always be “this again” because as long as I have a vagina, someone, somewhere out there will be in disagreement of what I can and cannot do.

Below are as many of the articles I could find that have been published in the last week, which I’m going to put in chronological order. But to set the mood, I’m kicking things off with a piece by Sarah Houghton from 2011 about her experiences with professional sexual harassment, and adding in my own piece when I got harassed in 2013, and a piece from Dorothea Salo written 2007 about a woman being harassed at a DSpace conference. It’s stories like ours that explain the background reasoning as to why CoC’s need to exist. As Salo succinctly puts it in her blog,

No woman should have to “escape” people in a professional setting. EVER.

You’d think this would be enough, but obviously it isn’t or else we wouldn’t continue on having these “conversations.”

I’m also including a link to the working document to the CoC so that you can see how the process started and formed and a link to the finalized piece that is now on ALA’s website. I’m also including the Storify that ALA is tracking of all the commentary, which will be ongoing. Additionally, I’m adding in Will Manley’s piece, which was dismantled from his site several days later and lost through Googlecache, that I was able to capture via Pocket and made viewable to the world via Evernote and well, what started the whole pitchforking in the first place.

This entire list will be ported over to the LibTechGender project. Make sure to bookmark that page.

Lastly, as to be expected, there is trolling on some of the pieces and social media has been in a tizzy about calling those people out in public spaces for being effs. It is one thing to have a discourse with someone on a particular topic, even if  you violently disagree, but it’s a whole ‘nother space to start pitchforking for blood and harassment — that’s bullying. Don’t be an asshole to assholes.

Edit: 1/18/14 to add new posts.
Edit: 1/27/14 to add new posts.

LibTechGender Wayfinding

Hey there.

If you came over here from Andromeda Yelton’s piece on LibraryJournal or her blog  or from Julie Jurgen’s piece: Welcome! Glad to have you here!

If you’re interested in more of my writing on library / technology / gender intersectionality, this tag has all of my pieces. I also keep a digital clearing house of all of my work and the works of others, as well as suggestions, conferences, panels, etc over at LibTechGender Project. You can also track the tag on Twitter. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.

It turns out that Amish romance novels are neither Amish nor romantic.

christopherwalkenknitting
Christopher Walken knitting wins the internets today.

Dear Internet,

Today was the day we were to start our week of museuming while TheMIL is in town, but no one was seemingly getting their shit together to go at a reasonable manner, which was not necessarily a bad thing. Well. I fly out of bed this morning, take a shower, put on bra AND pants, so I am a bit miffed at being over dressed at Throbbing Manor while MIL and TheHusband hang out in their jimjams. I’ve been assured dinner is going to be out of the house at some point this evening but it’s slowly ticking into the dining hour and no one else, but me, is apparently ready to rumble for dinner. And I’m starving.

And grumpy.

If you’ve been following me along on Twitter at all today, you know I’ve been raging against yet another white, privileged, middle class male who decreed on his blog that having a code of conduct in place for conferences was akin to the thought and moral police dampening our right to free speech. In addition to the every growing commentary, I’m especially fond of the person who responded to one of my comments that,

You got issues. Don’t know what earth you live on, but most white men I know keep their hands to themselves and respect their colleagues. Sorry for whatever the fu …. happened to you but like I said, you got issues. Maybe it’s time to deal with them. Let go that anger.

I can’t even. I’ll let Dolly do it for me more succinctly:

dolly_finger

As of this posting, there are four very well thought of pieces in response to the originating post  by Andrew, Nina, Kate, and Matthew. I’m still on the fence about writing up a post of my own, but even if I don’t, all of these (including the originating post) will get added to annotated round up for January.

I’ve decided to get off of Twitter,  and maybe the internets, for the rest of the night. One can only take so much willful, hateful ignorance in one go. Let’s hope to a better tomorrow.

P.S. Title today comes from LOL My Thesis.
P.P.S. Why are trolls so afraid to post under their real names? Are they not MAN ENOUGH to back up what they are saying? Just a thought.
P.P.P.S. Edit: 1/2/2014  Will Manley took his site off line, claiming it was part of his “new years, new goals.” Earlier in the day of 1/1/2014, his site was still accessible via Google webcache. As of the morning of 1/2/2014, the cache has been wiped. When I find articles to add to my weekly link roundup or for future use, I save them in Pocket, which I thankfully did for Mr. Manley’s. Sadly, the comments have not been saved.

Annotated LibTechGender article roundup for December 2013

Icicles hanging above the kitchen windows on December 23, 2013
Icicles hanging above the kitchen windows on December 23, 2013

Dear Internet,

Today is Christmas Eve. Ho. Ho. Ho.

This morning our sewer mains are going to be rooted as they have been backed up since the weekend due to combination of weather and 90 year old pipes. When we had to do this several years ago, it was due to the previous owner had flushed every period pad and tampon she ever used down the toilets, and after years of this behaviour, the cotton from the aforementioned turned into bricks which clogged the drains. Good times! While the plumber is doing his work, we’re going on our clean / bake / food prep extravaganza for dinner on Wednesday and upcoming mother-in-law visit. Hopefully at some point put up our damn tree. I still have yet to do cards this year, which I should be cracking on this weekend.

There has been so much going on in the #libtechgender world and will continue to grow, I thought it would be a grand idea to start annotating the articles in a roundup post to publish once a month. This also gives me incentive to keep the #libtechgender page up to date , so it’s a win-win situation. The articles below are ordered as I find them, while on the landing page they are in chronological order, newest at the top, since many of them are responses to the other pieces. As always, if you find mistakes / recommendations, leave them in the comments or drop me a line.

P.S. If you’re heading to Midwinter, Andromeda Yelton will be paneling with lots of awesome people on Challenges of gender issues in technology librarianship. Hie thee on January 25 to the Pennsylvania Convention Center 201 C at 4:30PM!

  • #libtechgender: the dangers of a single story by Andromeda Yelton
    Andromeda deftly discusses an ever present but hardly addressed issue: there are more than one side to a story and we need to start taking that into consideration. This piece was written in response to Cecily Walker’s piece listed below on intersectionality and privilege.
  • On Privilege, Intersectionality, and the Librarian Image by Cecily Walker
    I have to fangirl on Cecily here for a moment, so bear with me. She’s one of the few people who, I think, can adroitly discuss difficult topics elegantly and in such a manner that makes engagement on said topics totally accessible AND non-scary. Cecily is a ballerina in comparison to my bull in a china shop of approaches. In this piece, Cecily responds to Andy Woodworth’s A Libraryland Festivus, which then is followed up by the response from Andromeda above.
  • Calling In: A Less Disposable Way Of Holding Each Other Accountable by Cecily Walker
    Referencing the article of the same name by Ngọc Loan Trần (which is also a great read), this short piece is powerful in remembering our own perceptions and keeping ourselves in check.
  • Arguing for inclusivity by Coral Sheldon-Hess
    Coral is one of the few public pushers (in the library tech world) for Codes of Conduct/Anti-Harassment statements for cons, meetings, groups, etc etc. This piece is a good walk through addressing concerns with CoC and giving more insight into why we should have them. Coral has also provided oodles of links to lots of information regarding CoCs in and out of the library world, such as the Storify that began ALA’s work on getting one in place.
  • #LibTechGender, Intersectionality, and Backup by Coral Sheldon-Hess
    Another great piece by Coral on inclusivity and the Backup Ribbon Project!
  • Are we talking enough about gender bias and discrimination in the library profession? by Jennifer Vinopal
    Jennifer is on the advisory committee of the upcoming Leadership, Technology, and Gender Summit that is taking place in March, 2014. This is a launch pad post to start generating literature for research and she’s also put together a ever growing Zotero library of links to support the project.
  • We’ve come a short way … and don’t even think about calling me “baby” by Chris Bourg
    Chris offers up several quotes that are dated and not so dated to answer the question if we really have come a long way, baby.
  • #libtechgender: my world and  hers by Jason Griffey
    Jason offers up his response on being a male feminist in 2013 in response to another excellent post by Andromeda Yelton
  • #libtechgender: ALA’s Code of Conduct (Mainly) by Kate Kosturski
    Kate is another fabulous person who does a great job on summing up the ALA Code of Conduct, our Internet Librarian panel, and other related matters.
  • thanks to #libtechwomen by Eric Phetteplace
    A shoutout to #libtechwomen on becoming more inclusive with language.
  • Why the “had daughter, became feminist” narrative doesn’t work for me by Chris Bourg
    Chris brings up some very valid, to me, points on why we should not necessarily be celebrating when a man becomes a born-again feminist. Very thoughtful read.
  • Libraries need a feminist agenda…but which one? by Lane Wilkinson
    A long, but insightful, look at agendas, feminism, and history of both. Gives a lot to chew on.
  • Gender and Presenting as Professional by Nina de Jesus
    I’ve only recently met Nina, but I really like what I’ve read by her. This very real, no holds barred look at being trans* in not just the work place, but also in libraryland is in response to Andy’s post as asked by Cecily.

Code of Conduct, Code4Lib, Lib Tech Gender, and My Vagina – Oh my!

Judith Beheading Holofrenes by Caravaggio
Judith Beheading Holofrenes by Caravaggio

 
Dear Internet,
Before I go forward, I must warn you the bloodwolves have arrived at House Rabey yesterday and I’m feeling a leetle like the above image.
This week has been insane as I prep for an author’s lecture and Q & A at the college that I organized, getting started on one of my departments accreditation process (well there went holiday break!) and a whole other load of work and personal stuff. I haven’t had time to do much of anything and I’m thankful I took Friday off or else I would die from exhaustion. Good job, me!
Before ALA’s annual conference happened this summer, several people linked me to a conversation at a public librarian Facebook group that started out with asking about hooking up at the conference and the conversation, of course, degraded from there.  I made my views  fairly well known on the topic.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 11.13.01 PM

It took nearly 5 months after I started making the noise, and in ALA parlance that is ultra fast, but ALA FINALLY has a Code of Conduct in place. Huz-fucking-zah! Andromeda Yelton wrote up a really great piece on the whole process.
Since talking about my vag has become one of my favorite topics, here are other things going on this week in that area:

  • I massively updated the landing page for #libtechwomen/#libtechgender that I’ve mentioned in previous posts. I’ve pulled everything I’ve written into one tidy location. If you have any links or suggestions you think I should add, let me know.
  • I’ve just put together the proposal for a Librarianship, Technology, Gender pre-conference at Code4Lib. If you’re planning on attending this year, might I suggest you sign up?
  • I’ve been approached by a in-profession magazine and a book publisher to start putting my words to print. This is SEEKRIT for the moment, but I will reveal when I can on both topics.

Now I slumber.
x0x0,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe:

Librarians, Gender, and Tech: Moving the Conversation Forward

"Woman teaching geometry" Illustration at the beginning of a medieval translation of Euclid's Elements (c. 1310 AD) via Wikipedia CC.
“Woman teaching geometry”
Illustration at the beginning of a medieval translation of Euclid’s Elements (c. 1310 AD) via Wikipedia CC.

Dear Internet,
Nearly a year ago, there was a small explosion over a post I had written on why men should not write about gender and technology, which stemmed from conversations that were being held simultaneously over several similar mailing lists and blog posts.  At the end of the post, I had proposed in the following to help keep the conversation flowing:

  • Donate to the Ada Intiative.
  • Start/chair an interest group for women in technology in LITA, the technology arm of ALA
  • Start a GeekGirl Dinner in your area.
  • Use Meetup.com to start/find groups in your interests (there were loads of Women in Technology interest groups on MeetUp).
  • Depending on where you work, what you do; start off-site initiative for women to have a hack-a-thon
  • Find local hackerspace communities to start a women’s initiative
  • Use professional conferences to propose panels/groups/discussions to get more people aware but also to pay it forward
  • Create a women in tech book club at local bar/coffee house
  • Donate time to do mentoring to high school and middle school girls
  • Donate to or become a sponsor for a nearby women’s conference, like GeekGirlCon

In keeping with the spirit of my suggestions, this week I presented with a load of great people on gender, technology, and libraries at Internet Librarian.
Twenty four hours later, I was publicly sexually harassed. Like I said, the irony was not lost on me.
Now that the conference is over, I am home and I have had a few days to simmer on the events of the week, I’ve decided to take up the mantel permanently on the topic. My reasoning for this is layered, but primary cause is I don’t think we’re doing enough in the profession to bring this to the forefront of our mind. I only tend to write about it when something has happened either to me or I’ve become impassioned for another and my opinion must be heard! I’ve noticed that others seem to act the same way, thus the discussion tends to dip and rise depending on what is getting peoples ganders up at the moment.
I was curious as to how others are discussing it within the profession, so here are a few examples of how we’re not addressing this topic:

  • A search of “sexual harassment” in American Libraries turns up only 23results, most on opinions on events occurring in the late ’90s and on public court cases
  • A search of “gender technology” in American LIbraries Magazine turns up 27 results, much on the concentration on gender in the classroom
  • ITAL, the journal for LITA, has no results on “sexual harassment,” and two results on “gender,” one of which about the financial disparity between men and women and discussion on the roles of women in technology, which is low, in a profession where the role of women is high
  • Code4Lib Journal has no mention of “sexual harassment” in its journal, and “gender” brings up conference reports on forums on inclusion and diversity. To be fair, a lot of the big discussions happen on their mailing list, but that doesn’t entirely erase the fact there is no discussion happening in their journal
  • As far as I can find, until now, there is no known topic or panel of women, technology, or gender that have taken place on local or national forums in terms of panels, posters, or discussions at conferences
  • There was no known Code of Conduct at ALA Annual 2013, or any other ALA related conference. When I asked and asked, I was constantly told this was a “topic of discussion” stretching back for many years but no one was actively working on it because it was assumed it was not needed. Thanks to Andromeda Yelton, who rocks my little socks, and others who helped get this out of the discussion period and into the actual tangible thing. Hopefully this will be taken up by other arms of ALA for their future conferences.

Then there is always the other side of sexual harassment — the side of men being harassed by women. I had a conversation with a male librarian while at Internet Librarian who regaled me of stories of sexual harassment occurring towards him while at conferences, meetings, and the like. Now what is interesting is social convention states that as a male, he’s supposed to not only take it, but be flattered by the attention. Why are we also not discussing this?
Another intriguing thing about this topic is the fact the discussion seems to be happening all over and around librarianship, via national outlets and personal blogs, but not within the profession itself. Some good examples of these conversations that give a lot of food for thought are:

Now some of the above writers are librarians, others are not, so when I say “within the profession itself,” I explicitly mean within professional journals, organizations, and conferences.
Now this post is meandering all over the place, but lets add more on what to do to keep the conversation going:

  • Started near the end of 2012, I formed LibTechWomen with Becky Yoose, Bohyun Kim,  Andromeda Yelton, and many other awesome people as a way to create a safe space for women and their allies to talk about these and every other issue under the sun. You can find us, mainly, via Facebook, Twitter as @libtechwomen and #libtechwomen, and GoogleGroups.
  • A national summit, Leadership-Technology-Gender, is happening at the end of Electronic Resources & Libraries conference in March, 2014. Great start, but we need to keep this at  local level as well
  • Start doing panels, proposals, forums, Q&As at at library related conferences, local and specialized
  • Use this topic as a launch pad for discussion in your classes. (Thanks, Nick!)
  • Start implementing a Codes of Conduct1 at your conferences, meetings, and other large gatherings
  • Start writing on this topic on a regular basis both in personal blogs AND professional journals, most specifically NOT just when something happens
  • Push this topic on Twitter using #libtechgender

Over on my professional site, I’ve started to curate all of this into a page of its own. You can track the updates by subscribing to the tag here when I write a new article or checking the page manually or subscribing to the page’s RSS feed to get updates when the page itself is updated.
As always, I have obviously not covered everything so if you have an article, link to an already happened or upcoming panel, or whatever, please feel free to drop a comment below or contact me.
I also encourage discussion on this topic from all perspectives, as more voices the better, whether here, your own blog, or on Twitter using #libtechgender. But please keep it civil.
xoxo,
Lisa

1. I’m going to be writing more on this topic at a later date, as I think this is just as important as talking about sexual harassment and women in library technology

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2012