Monday, August 9th, 2010
I read and get linked to a ton of interesting blog posts every week, and as much as I would like to post commentary about most of them there just isn’t enough time in the day. I often share some of these links on Twitter and Facebook, but I’m going to start posting a list of my most interesting recent reads here on Mondays as a way of sharing online articles with a little more context.
Feminism & Women:
- Elain Nelson posts a reaction to Joe Clark’s mansplaining post on women in tech. Elain very helpfully points out that some accommodations that need to be made for female employees — in and out of the tech sphere — aren’t related to skills or choice as much as they’re related to cultural pressures and expectations, such as that women will be the primary child caregiver. She also disputes the idea that “programming savants” who spent “virtually unlimited time” on their programming are the best people for all (or even any) computer job. Certainly usability would suffer across the board if these were the only kinds of programmers employed. Joe Clark also has some major fail going on when he addresses harassment in tech workplaces, which Nelson calls him on.
- Jessica Valenti talks about character assassination, slut-shaming and misogyny used as traffic bait in blogs and reminds us of the personal and professional risks of being a feminist online. This kind of stuff? Sadly not unusual on women’s blogs, especially women who blog about feminist, LGBT and sex issues.
- Apparently the big debate on legal blogs right now is about whether peep-toe shoes are appropriate in the court room. I feel like this conversation about whether or not a woman’s toes are inherently “too sexy” belongs in Victorian times. I find “appropriate clothing” debates inane and exasperating at the best of times because they’re more about sexualizing or desexualizing different body types than they are about what’s appropriate in the workplace, but this one strikes me as overly ridiculous.
- Elena Kagan has been confirmed to the Supreme Court!
- Over at the Geek Feminism Blog there’s a really excellent (though long) post on Sexism in World of Warcraft that is worthwhile reading. It covers gameplay, armour, storyline and character concerns. I don’t play World of Warcraft, but I have played some Guild Wars in my time, and I can definitely identify with many of her comments about the way women are portrayed in gaming.
- And, on the other hand, we have a female gamer praising the diversity of female physical and body representation in World of Warcraft with lots of illustrations.
Science & Skepticism:
- Coca-Cola is being sued because their vitamin water products make unwarranted health claims, but the best bit is their defense, which is to say that “no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitamin water was a healthy beverage”. Basically their defense boils down to “yes we said it was healthy, but everyone knows that’s not true so we’re fine”. Um… *headdesk*
- Myths about the “love hormone” oxytocin and the way conservatives are twisting slective bits of science to shore up abstinence-only sex education, slut shaming, monogamy and a lack of family planning. This is a link-rich resource that I have read through but haven’t clicked-through yet. It seems well-researched and comprehensive, and the article itself is very interesting.
- When Good SEO Becomes Bad Information Architecture. This post is a great reminder from Search Engine Land that good SEO does not translate into a good UI. User testing is hugely important: the way someone will search for content on a search engine is not necessarily the way they will seek it out in a website’s category hierarchy.