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Mourning Nóirín Plunkett

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It’s been a sad day for many of us in the Geek Feminism community, as we process the news of Nóirín Plunkett’s passing.

Nóirín was a powerful force for positive change. We have lost a tremendous collaborator and friend, and they will be deeply missed.

Words are challenging in the face of a loss like this one; many thanks to those who have written in memoriam of Nóirín thus far.

The Apache Foundation: “Throughout Nóirín’s time at the Foundation she was an Apache httpd contributor, ASF board member, VP and ApacheCon organizer. Nóirín’s passionate contributions and warm personality will be sorely missed. Many considered Nóirín a friend and viewed Nóirín’s work to improving ‘Women in Technology’ as a great contribution to this cause.”

The Ada Initiative: “Nóirín will be remembered as a leading open source contributor; brilliant and compassionate and welcoming and funny. They were a long time leader in the Apache Software Foundation community, and a gifted speaker and documentation writer. Nóirín was key to the creation of the Ada Initiative in more ways than one. Since then they made invaluable contributions to the Ada Initiative as an advisor since February 2011, and a project manager in 2014. We are more grateful than we can say.”

Sumana Harihareswara: “When I was volunteering on the search for the Ada Initiative’s new Executive Director, I worked closely with Nóirín and could always count on their wisdom, compassion, and diligence. I am so grateful, now, that I had a chance to collaborate with them — I had hoped to work with them again, someday, in some organization or other. One of the last times I saw them, they were crying with happiness over the passage of the Irish same-sex marriage referendum. I don’t want to end this entry because there is no ending that can do justice to them.”

Rich Bowen: “Nóirín’s motto was Festina Lente – Hasten Slowly, and this embodies her approach to life. She considered things carefully, and rushed to get things done, because life is too short to get everything accomplished that we put our minds to. In the end, hers was far, far too short.”

Our thoughts are with everyone who shares our grief. Farewell, Nóirín.

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pfctdayelise
8 hours ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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Ask Polly: Are My Friends Using Me?

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Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) on Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer), Tanzania

Dear Polly,

Since you’re an advice columnist yourself, you might relate to my problem.

On Sunday I went for lunch with a friend. We’re hanging out, hooray! We spent the afternoon discussing a complicated romance situation with a creepy former boss, and the problems she’s facing in her new job. She kept...More »

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pfctdayelise
19 hours ago
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Valuable!
Melbourne, Australia
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Are Drag Queens Doing Girlface?

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Organizers of Free Pride Glasgow, a Scottish gay pride parade, have “banned” drag queens from the event, citing concerns that men dressing up like women is offensive to transwomen. The LGBTQ community is afire about this, citing the long tradition of drag performances in gay communities and the role drag queens have played in the Gay Liberation movement. “hello, ever heard of THE STONEWALL RIOTS?!!!” tweeted one of the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The organizers of Free Pride Glasgow are standing their ground, stating that they will only allow noncisgender men — men who do not identify as men — to perform in drag. A facebook comment suggested, and rightly so, that this could get really problematic really fast in practice, asking: “How are you going to moderate who is a trans and who is a cis drag act?”

Well, that’s a can of worms.

I don’t know how this conversation is going to play out and, to be honest, I’m nervous to jump in. But I gotta say that I, for one, really hope we keep talking about this. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to worry about how drag queen performances might make transwomen feel. Drag performers generally do an exaggerated performance of femininity and I think it’s okay to ask whether and when this counts as mocking femininity and the people that perform it: transwomen, yes, and ciswomen, too.

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Sexism matters here and anyone can be sexist, even drag queens. When drag queens trot out some of the worst stereotypes about women, for example –performing characters that are vain, bitchy, selfish, and always PMSing — I see girlface. I see men mocking femininity, not embracing their feminine sides and busting the fiction of masculinity. So, I don’t blame transwomen one bit if this makes them uncomfortable; it sure makes me uncomfortable and I’m in a much safer position than they.

So, I don’t know where this conversation is going to go, but I do think we need to have it. It needs to be, though, not about whether drag queens should be banned, but what drag should look like going forward. It should be about both what drag queens bring to the movement — their value in the past and the role they can play now — but also whether and how their performances contribute to a devaluation of femininity that hurts all women, cis, trans, and other.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

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pfctdayelise
5 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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MOOC: Language Revival: Securing the Future of Endangered Languages

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MOOC: Language Revival: Securing the Future of Endangered Languages:

This is an interesting-looking free online course from the University of Adelaide on edX about language revitalization. From the description: 

Language is an integral part of society. Wherever we come from, the words we use and the way in which we use them are fundamental to our cultural identity. In today’s increasingly globalised world, however, ‘linguicide’ – the loss of a language – is becoming all too common. But there is hope. The language revival movement has emerged as an important and effective response, and this course will introduce you to its key principles and techniques.

After discussing powerful answers to the question of why languages should be revived, we’ll investigate how. Far more than just a simple process of recovering literacy and lost letters, language revival involves a deep and complex engagement with history, human rights, identity and wellbeing. You will also learn what’s being done around the world right now, and how effective these techniques have been.

More information can be found on the course page and in this University of Adelaide announcement. It starts on July 28 and runs for 5 weeks if anyone is interested! 

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pfctdayelise
6 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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phdbitch:I love how they use background music in animal documentaries to signify danger. It’s like...

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phdbitch:

I love how they use background music in animal documentaries to signify danger.
It’s like damn, I thought this caterpillar was chillin but clearly something bout to happen that neither I nor the caterpillar know about.

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pfctdayelise
7 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
sarcozona
8 days ago
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A Hostage Situation

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If you do software engineering research, and want your work to matter, you should go and read http://exple.tive.org/blarg/2015/07/24/hostage-situation/ from Mozilla's Mike Hoye. Really.

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pfctdayelise
7 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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