Why Student Affairs Professionals Should Care About #GamerGate

By Kathryn Magura

**Warning: this blog post contains content of a violent nature that may unintentionally trigger someone. Please read on with caution.**

 

I am not a gamer. I do not go online and play video games with other people. Why then would I purport to get involved with an issue called #GamerGate?

Well, for starters, women are being threatened with horrendous crimes because they have chosen to speak out against #GamerGate. Yes, you read that correctly. Women – a growing population in the gaming world – are being threatened with specific threats of violence like gang rape when they choose to speak out against the sexism in gaming. If you are not aware, there is quite a bit of overt sexism in the gaming world. Everything from female characters who are sexualized to bullying women out of the community, it is truly an ugly world to be a part of if you are a woman. That said, some women still choose to partake simply because they love to game. Something they have every right to continue doing.

Women who speak out against #GamerGate face a real threat of being doxxed (which is internet speak for when personally identifying information like address, age, Social Security Number is published) and thusly sent into hiding. Felicia Day, a famous gamer and actress finally spoke out against #GamerGate, and within minutes was doxxed. Men who speak out do not face the same doxxing threats. Why?  This is wrong, and the only way to stop it is to draw more attention to the issue.

For some more context about this issue, those who are pro #GamerGate claim that the issue is about media ethics in gaming. When I first tweeted about #GamerGate:

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 8.22.37 PM

I received quite a few responses from people who defended #GamerGate under the belief that they were defending the need for more ethics in gaming. While I believe these people wholeheartedly believe this version of #GamerGate, they are also incredibly naive to ignore what has happened to the women who speak out against #GamerGate. These atrocities are happening to women only, not the men who also speak out. How is this an issue of gaming ethics??

Newsweek sought out to answer the question of what the root issue of #GamerGate is, and concluded that #GamerGate is about harassing women more than gaming ethics. In 2014 we have blatant sexism running rampant without consequence. THIS IS NOT OK.

So why should Student Affairs professionals care about #GamerGate? Besides the fact that we have women being harassed and threatened, there is a deeper issue at play here. Many of these gamers who are threatening women and sharing their private information are our students. They are our residents on campus. They are the students in our first year seminar classes. They are the students who attend our events (or not).

We have students on our campuses who think it is ok to publish personal information about a woman, or even threaten to rape her, simply because she disagrees with him. This is not ok. We need to reach out to these students and help them see the true value in other human beings. This is not a game. This is reality, and people are getting hurt. The threat is real, and we owe it to these gamers to encourage them to see the difference.

Why Student Affairs Professionals Should Care About #GamerGate

Follow Friday: #YesAllWomen

by Kristen Abell

Earlier this week, Valerie blogged about the #YesAllWomen hashtag movement on Twitter. I’m writing about it again because I think it’s that important for you to follow it. I’ve considered adding a few tweets to it myself, but as usual, I have more to say about this topic than 140 characters can contain. For this many women to be able to name their experiences with misogyny in a public forum is a huge deal – whether you realize it or not. Even claiming these experiences can feel shaming, and this hashtag has turned it into a moment for women to redefine that shame and direct it where it belongs.

I truly hope that this is a hashtag that speaks to all genders – not just women. Much of what is mentioned in the tweets is a result of stereotypical gendered socialization that doesn’t benefit any of us. I also hope that the sentiments behind this hashtag carry on for much longer than a few days, as Twitter hashtag movements are wont to do. There is so much we can all learn from this.

If you feel so inclined, use the comments below to share your #YesAllWomen tweets, comments and stories – 140 characters or more. Then go check out the hashtag on Twitter and learn what women face on a daily basis – or learn that you are not alone.

In more than 140 characters, here is my story:

Because when I was going to middle school for an education, I was made to feel shameful about the changes my body was going through. Because I was repeatedly harassed in the hallways at school. Because I was groped and touched in all the places I had been taught never to let a stranger touch me, and because they were not strangers but supposedly my friends. Because when I reported them, no one protected me from the retaliation. Because I was afraid to tell my mother any of this until I was much older because I thought it was my fault. Yes me. Yes all women.

Follow Friday: #YesAllWomen

Another Running Metaphor

By Kathryn Magura

I know, I know, my title made you groan. But I got your attention right? Well, before you close your browser, hear me out. I’ve been thinking a lot the last few weeks about why I continue to try running. I don’t like it much, and I’m not particularly good at it. Quite the endorsement, right? Why don’t I quit? Good question.

Last night, a friend of mine sent me the following blog post about why one seasoned blogger thinks more women don’t follow a career as a computer programmer. After reading that post, it occurred to me: running is my new technology. Huh? Still with me?

While I think the aforementioned blogger is misguided in his thoughts on why women aren’t getting into computer programming (as evidenced by this previous post), it got me thinking about why I never thought I’d be good working with technology – which made the discovery that I am actually very good at technology that much more of a pleasant surprise!

I never thought I was good with technology, but I never really gave it a shot until I started working professionally. Why didn’t I think I was good with it? I don’t think anyone ever told me I was bad. And I’d certainly been an early adopter of the internet, and all the fun tools associated with it, but I guess I never equated that to technology skill. I didn’t really know if I had any skills with computers or technology until I started using it and my intuitive senses took over.

On many levels, my thoughts about my running ability parallel my initial thoughts on my skills with technology. I have never been much of a fan of running, partially because I never thought I was any good at it. Granted, I never really tried much, but the few times I HAD run, I wasn’t much of a fan. Sound familiar?

So there it is, I run because I never thought I would be any good at it. Am I good runner? Well, I haven’t quit yet, isn’t that what matters? Besides, I’m not competing with the person on the treadmill next to me, I’m competing with my own inner demons and self-deprecating lies that tell me I’m no good at running. I’ve believed those lies for far too long, just like I did when I didn’t think I was any good with technology. Don’t I owe myself the chance to prove myself wrong?

Another Running Metaphor

Lean In with #femlead

By Brenda Bethman

Technically, this post is not really about technology (although Sandberg does work at Facebook) — but it is about women, which is the other focus of this blog. And it’s cheating a bit as it’s a cross-post from my personal blog, but it’s April and I’m sick, so it will have to do. Enjoy!! And join us tomorrow and May 14 on Twitter to talk about the book.

lean inIf you’ve been conscious and tuned in to the media at all over the last 6 weeks or so, you have probably heard that Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, wrote a book that people are talking about (just a bit). You may also have heard that there is a fair amount of disagreement in feminist circles about Sandberg’s book and whether it’s helpful or harmful to women.

We at #femlead decided these were questions worth pursuing — so the next two #femlead chats (4/30 and 5/14) were be dedicated to a discussion of Lean In as well as the discussion around it. The chats will be facilitated by me and the fabulous Liana Silva. We hope you can join us and below are some links in case you want to do some pre-reading.

Joan C. Williams and Rachel W. Dempsey, “The Rise of Executive Feminism” in HBR

Anne Marie Slaughter’s review in the NYT

Lean In and One Percent Feminism” in Truthout

Feminism’s Tipping Point: Who Wins from Leaning In?” in Dissent

Jill Filipovic, “Sheryl Sandberg is More of a Feminist Crusader..” in The Guardian

Catherine Rottenberg “Hijacking Feminism” on AlJazeera

Jessica Bennett, “I Leaned In: Why Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Circles’ Actually Help,” in New York Magazine

On Lean-ing In” at Racialicious

Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean in” Message Not Enough for Women, Especially Professional Latinas” at Huffington Post

The Feminist Mystique” in The Economist

Joan Walsh, “Trashing Sheryl Sandberg” at Slate

Questioning Sheryl Sandberg: We’re Not “Trashing,” We’re Exploring” at The Broad Side

Tressie McMillan Cottom “Lean In Litmus Test: Is This For Women Who Can Cry At Work?”

Elsa Walsh, “Why Women Should Embrace a ‘Good Enough’ Life” in the Washington Post

Originally published at http://brendabethman.com/2013/04/22/lean-in-with-femlead/

Lean In with #femlead

F-word at Simmons College: Gloria Steinem’s powerful speech on feminism today (#Storify)

by Jess Faulk

In order to pull together a comprehensive picture of the amazing visit of Gloria Steinem on our campus, I did my very first Storify. This platform was ideal because it allowed me to easily pull in media from Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, and Boston news media.  In a week or so, I will also be able to easily add video posted by our Simmons College marketing team.  Storify always seemed like an interesting concept to me, but until I had an event of this scale I hadn’t found a practical use for this social media story telling tool.

After completing the story, Storifty immediately helps you get the word out by sending out a tweet to everyone whose tweets you used as part of the story.  Also, folks who have storify accounts can sign up to “follow” your story and receive updates when new information is added.

Check out my storify of feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s visit to Simmons College for an example of  how you can use this technology on your campus!

Storify_Steinem1

 An example of two tweets pulled into Storify:

Storify_Steinem2

F-word at Simmons College: Gloria Steinem’s powerful speech on feminism today (#Storify)

On Leaning In: Pay Equity

By Anitra Cottledge

My first post in a couple of months and I’m thinking not strictly about tech, but about pay equity and salary negotiation. By now, I gather that most reading this have heard/seen the “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders” TED talk by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. But if you haven’t, here’s an opportunity to do so.

Her key messages for women in the workforce: “One, sit at the table. Two, make your partner a real partner. And three, don’t leave before you leave.”

I use this video a lot in trainings. I think it has a lot of uses; it can be a vehicle to talk about women’s leadership, women’s relationship to power and privilege, confidence, workplace climate issues, salary negotiation and by extension, pay equity. Sometimes, people love the video when I show it, and other times, people have plenty of critique. And sometimes, people have both reactions at the same time, which is wonderful for dialogue.

A few other things on my radar re: Sheryl Sandberg and pay equity:

  • She’s (Rarely) the Boss – NYT op-ed piece by Nicholas Kristof, which talks about (in part), Sandberg’s ideas about gender gaps in the boardroom. “We internalize the negative messages we get throughout our lives, the messages that say it’s wrong to be outspoken, aggressive, more powerful than men. We lower our own expectations of what we can achieve. We continue to do the majority of the housework and child care. We compromise our career goals to make room for partners and children who may not even exist yet.”
  • Lest you think that Sandberg doesn’t think that men also have a responsibility to create a gender-fair workplace: “I am hoping that each woman will set her own goals and reach for them with gusto,” Sandberg writes. “And I am hoping that each man will do his part to support women in the workplace and in the home, also with gusto.” However, this article written in response really emphasizes that responsibility that men have.
  • More on the pay-equity-and-economic-justice-as-systemic-issues front: “Trickle-Down Feminism” and an earlier piece called “Paycheck Feminism.”

Thoughts? What are some other resources that you’ve found online about pay equity and women in the workplace?

On Leaning In: Pay Equity

Blog Prompt Monday: Dinner Party with Amazing Women

By Kathryn Magura

When I saw the blog prompt for today, I was really excited:

“What 5 women throughout history would you like to have a dinner party with and why?”

Seriously, how awesome is this question? Think about the amazing fun we could have at a dinner party! As I began to think about my answer, I became a little nervous at making the right choice. Who would I choose? How can I narrow it down? What would we all talk about?? I decided to just go with my gut, and pick 5 amazing women who I would love to meet, or to have met. In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Tina Fey: I have been a HUGE fan of Tina Fey’s since her days at the helm of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live. Tina’s quick wit, security in being a successful woman in her chosen field, and ability to be honest about who she truly is has been an inspiration to me. If you haven’t read Tina’s book, Bossypants, I highly suggest you do so now. I still want to be here when I grow up.
  2. Hillary Clinton: Confession time: I have not always been a Hillary Clinton fan. In fact, when she was running for President a fear years ago, I was a staunch opponent. Over the last few years, I am happy to say that I have developed a sense of respect and admiration for Hillary. Hillary is a strong woman, who isn’t afraid to be exactly who she is in a room full of powerful men. Hillary is a leader, a mother, a wife, and supporter to many communities. Not only am I a fan now, I truly hope she is able to run for President successfully in 2016.
  3. Princess Diana: I was always fascinated by Princess Diana as a kid. Here was this beautiful woman who survived a public divorce as a British royal. It seems like Princess Diana never got a moment of peace in her short life, and I sort of wish I could just give her a hug. It’s hard for me to believe she was only a few years older than I am now when she died.
  4. Clara Barton: Clara Barton is credited with bringing the Red Cross to the United States, and becoming a champion and health advocate for others. Apparently, I am distantly related to Clara Barton, and would love to have the opportunity to thank her for being a woman who committed her life to serving the needs of others (and see if the familial connection is true or not).
  5. Eleanor Roosevelt: When I was in the second grade, I remember writing a book report on the biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. Even at such a young age, I knew the woman I was writing about was wonderful and strong woman. What a mentor she was for future female leaders!

I could go on, but the prompt wisely asked me to pick 5, so I opted to go with the first 5 to come to mind. Think of the amazing conversations we would have at this dinner! Now your turn. Which 5 women would you invite to dinner?

Blog Prompt Monday: Dinner Party with Amazing Women

A Woman’s Right to Vote

By Kathryn Magura

It’s election day here in the United States! And while most of us will be relieved to have the daily deluge of political ads come to an end, how many of us take the time to reflect on the power of our vote? As a woman, I have not really thought much about what it means to even be able to vote. But not that long ago, women were literally giving their lives for the ability to vote.

Over time, my thoughts about voting have ebbed and flowed. I remember the first time I thought I was going to be able to vote, I was actually a day shy of being 18 in time for the election. I was annoyed because I wanted to vote and express my opinion (I’m guaranteed to always have an opinion about something). In my 20s, I became frustrated with politics, and started to think that all politicians were the same and didn’t really have my interests at heart. I was so disheartened, I considered not bothering to vote on more than one occasion. It didn’t help that George W. Bush was reelected one year on my birthday. Oh the joys of early November birthdays.

As I have gotten older, I think I have developed a stronger appreciation for the ability to vote. As a woman, I am very aware that we haven’t always had the ability to express our opinions through voting. While I have been tempted not to add my vote at times, I feel like I owe it to the women who have come before me and fought so hard for this right. I am also a firm believer that I have no real right to complain about politics (specifically politicians) if I don’t vote. What does complaining without action really get me? If I don’t like someone, I’m going to express my opinion through my vote for the other candidate.

This year marks 100 years since women have had the right to vote in Oregon: http://centuryofaction.org/. When I found this out, I knew that I owed it to the women’s suffrage movement over a century ago to ensure that my vote gets cast. It is a privilege to have this right, and one that should not be taken for granted.

So ladies, make sure you get out there and vote. I don’t care who you vote for (ok, I do. Please don’t vote for Mitt Romney), just vote! Share your voice!! And who is with me in hoping there is a Hillary Clinton/Michelle Obama ticket in 2016? 😉

A Woman’s Right to Vote

Linkage Love

by Kristen Abell

As we get closer to the elections, some of the information that is being bandied about is, well, maybe a bit less than true. And as a woman, I can’t tell you how tired I’ve gotten listening to men debate about my reproductive rights, my right to pay, my rights as a woman. It can be down right depressing to listen to any of it at this point.

But I bring you hope – there are still a bunch of folks out there doing good things as women and for women. Today’s Linkage Love is dedicated to them. Here are a few of my favorite places to visit to remember that it’s good to be a woman…

There are few organizations more important for women in education than the AAUW (American Association of University Women). Whether it’s highlighting the differences in education of girls and boys, or providing grants and research to support women in S.T.E.M. fields, the AAUW has long been an organization that promotes the equal education for our girls and women.

Ms. 40th Anniversary Cover

Regardless of your political leanings, I think it’s safe to say that Planned Parenthood does some extremely amazing (and extremely needed) work for women. Before voting for anyone that might strike funding for Planned Parenthood, I hope you’ll take a few moments to read what they’re really about at their website. Especially for those of us working with students who may not have insurance or deep pockets, Planned Parenthood’s services can be vital.

Finally, if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, please do take a look at the White House’s “1 is 2 Many” campaign. I can’t even begin to tell you how emotional it makes me to see this campaign coming from our nation’s leaders, especially considering the lack of support that has generally come from that direction in the past. For the first time in a long time, I feel like some of the work I have done in the past to support women in abusive relationships isn’t for naught.

What are your favorite sites to visit when learning about women’s issues? Where do you go to remind yourself that there’s still a lot of good happening for us?

Linkage Love

Bragging Versus Celebrating: Is there A Gender Gap in How We React to Accomplishments?

By Kathryn Magura

In a recent conversation with a friend of mine, we were discussing how men and women tend to react differently when they win something. The conversation stemmed from the fact that I recently won an award from ACUHO-I for the Article of the Year for an article I wrote for our Talking Stick Journal with a colleague.

During our conversation, my friend asked me if I had shared the news with my colleagues at work. I responded that I had told my supervisor and a few coworkers, and had posted the news on Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t feel it should be my role to send something out to our department, because I didn’t want to be perceived as bragging. My friend pointed out to me that I should be very proud of my award, because it is a reflection of all my hard work and commitment to my national association. My friend further pointed out that if I were a man, I would have shouted my achievement from the rooftops.

This comment really got me thinking. Why didn’t I share my achievement more broadly? If I did “shout it from the rooftops” would I come across as egocentric and bragging? Would this perception be the same if I was a man? What role does gender play in how we approach celebrating accomplishments?

Since we had this conversation, I have been continuing to think about the perceived gender gap in celebration of accomplishments. In the past, whenever I have accomplished a big goal or won something, I have been quick to share credit with others, and often belittle the level of honor I deserve. Do I do this because it is a female tendency? Do my male counterparts do the same?

If there is a gender discrepancy in honoring awards and accomplishments, how do we change it? How do we make it okay for everyone (man, woman, whatever) to be proud of what they have accomplished?

Oh, and for the record: I AM SO EXCITED AND HONORED TO HAVE WON THIS DISTINGUISHED AWARD! There, that felt good.

Bragging Versus Celebrating: Is there A Gender Gap in How We React to Accomplishments?