Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This week in my brain

*Manic pixie dream girls. See also this. I have totally been guilty of this in the past, though I quickly turn out to be too emotionally complicated to perpetuate the illusion. Here is one analysis of why it's so damn irritating. Of course, whether someone comes across as "interesting" or "exotic" is completely subjective.

*This ties into thoughts I've been having about makers and gender and how most creative activities seem to be somehow gendered based on historical trends. Furthermore, the associated internet communities are pretty uniformly segregated along gender lines. You can even tell by the colors. Observe:

Man communities: Make Projects, Instructables

Girly communities: Craftster, this LilyPad/soft circuit community

Edited to add: I'm being a bit fair to Instructables here, as it's really the best of the bunch (and the original mitigating comment I'd put in seems to have been deleted when I added the HTML. bugger). A better example might be the project pages on popular mechanics or one of those sorts of things. But this does tie into a larger rant about how the SF bay area maker communities that think they're all egalitarian and stuff are still sometimes really guilty of egregious stereotyping that NO ONE THINKS IS GOING ON. And man does it bother me.

Also of interest is the phenomenon whereby soft circuit projects seem to be almost exclusively by women and kids. Not that there aren't guys that do this, but rather that they don't self-label the same way. Really this all deserves its own post.

* I still owe the internet pictures of everything for the last several months. They're coming.

*Morley played this for me. It's now stuck in my head.

* I've started reading several blogs about San Francisco and the Mission. I feel much more invested in the place when I know more about what's going on. I'll be a lot more informed about local politics this November than the last time I voted here. Which is definitely a good thing.

* Apparently H. R. Giger was involved in the production design for a never-released version of Dune. Interesting, though the sketches are too small.

* Deep wedding planning ambivalence. Tom and I had a discussion the other day that pretty much amounted to "the more I find out about weddings the less I want to have one". It does not help that we know lots of couples having various relationship drama around their weddings. Lots of perfectly happy people too, but definitely a couple of cautionary tales.

* Maybe we will go see Wagner's Ring Cycle next summer?

* My life needs more dadaism.


Jess L. said...

Mostly I agree with your gender observations of online communities, but regarding Instructables, my understanding is that they are almost 50/50 in terms of male/female users - with perhaps even a slight trend towards females. I could be wrong, of course, but that's my memory (alexa seems to back this up: I've never really found the office to be particularly gendered one way or the other either, since generally there seem to be roughly comparable numbers of ladies and dudes hanging around. I guess the bright orange color scheme may carry certain connotations, but to be honest I never thought of it that way.

Alice said...

I actually waffled about even putting Instructables on the man list, but got lazy about finding a replacement example and posted it anyway. Which I probably shouldn't have done. I really like Instructables, and I totally believe that about its user base. Any it mostly avoids the "Muahah boys, no doilies allowed here!" tone that some maker sites are really guilty of. From my experience of squid labs offices, I agree with you on that as well.

At some point I'll get around to a more in-depth analysis of the various project categories and organization, branding, marketing etc. There's some kind of mismatch between the actual content and the content that's "supposed" to be there that I'm having a hard time summarizing well in the gaps between other things at work.

LauraJ said...

If something gets labelled a 'girl' thing, male people tend to avoid it. Where, I think, women are more used to finding the neat stuff in the other aisle. And being a mannish woman is less fatal than being a girly guy. And when something becomes a 'women's field,' you can be sure the salaries will go down.

I have no idea what to do about any of it. It would be really interesting to know if the proportion of male knitters who are gay is as high as we think. And if the proportion is higher because, having come out as gay, the men don't feel as threatened to be teased about it.

It's good to know someone younger than I am is actually thinking about this stuff.