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Comments on draft-feminism.md #4

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Networkswithanattitude opened this issue Jul 7, 2019 · 0 comments

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commented Jul 7, 2019

Thank you very much for making this effort, and also for your persistent work on it. We concentrated our comments on the file draft-feminism.md and have attached an annotated version with additional comments. Just to remind you, the comments were discussed and prepared by a group of people gathered at Networks with an attitude, a worksession organised by Constant in April 2019.

Draft commented: 2f01eca#diff-0e54507b7351e55d580bc6fd23625b42

  • Probably due to the fact that many people have worked on this document at different moments, it feels that the different elements are disconnected. We tried to make some proposals, but it would be good to re-edit because the document will gain in strength by a better flow.
  • We wondered about the audience of this document; it feels there are multiple tones and modes of address. We understand that you are possibly navigating between different communities, but at the moment it is making the text difficult to read.
  • We propose to use 'women*' (with star) and add a definition that explains the non-essentialist understanding of the category. (We have made a proposal below)
  • The document gives the impression that the authors are outsider commentators, i.e. not part of the development of technical infrastructure. The text would benefit from assuming a clearer standpoint from within the space of technology.
  • In general, the document could emphasize more on the way feminist technical work has already had and is having an impact, for example in the history section.
  • At several moments, the document seems to assume women do not have technical knowledge by arguing for 'simplification' for example. We think it is especially important in this document to not re-confirm this normative understanding, and to make sure "women*" and "technologies" are not again relegated to separate domains. Some examples:

"The digital gender gap has relegated women and other marginalized groups to be internet users, adding content for the benefit of the platform itself but without a deep understanding of how these platforms work. Promoting transparency {{RFC8280}} and simplifying technical terminology is necessary to bridge this gap" [if you need to speak about simplification, it seems important to signal that this benefits all agents involved in technology, including technologists and not just women*]

"Where women and queer people have traditionally been marginalized, their participation in the internet is rejected through different forms of violence by other users, as well as institutions, platforms and governments. But the effects of these violences, which are nothing more than extensions of the traditional violence that these groups and individuals face in social life, increase to the extent that there is not enough technical knowledge to neutralize them" [again, re-enforcing the impression that 'women and queer people' have a lack of technical knowledge as a general characteristics. Of course knowledge-building can be important for specific groups that feel they lack it, but do not assume it is not already there]

"this document highlights where gender and security related terminology occurs in both technical standards and feminist discourse and distinguish between the two in a meaningful way, in order to find a common understanding of concepts, which allows both the technical and feminist communities ..." [these communities do intersect, so assuming they are disconnected support the status quo that the text is criticizing]

  • We think it is important that you bring up the relation between on-line and offline practice, but for now it is not always so clear how you see this interaction. Maybe add an explicit reference?
  • We felt the highway-metaphor in the intersectionality chapter is problematic. It brings intersectionality back to some form of flow regulation which is not helpful, it recalls Marchall McLuhan's allegory of the future virtual world which we feel is outdated and man-made. We think the metaphor can be cut or otherwise it will be more useful to reference a figure or concept developed by a female*/lgbtqi+/non-white/not-capitalist author?
  • We are glad to see that the paragraph on intersectionality starts the document, and also that it is much better than the version we discussed at Networks with an Attitude in April. We are wondering though how the intersectional lense can be read more clearly through the rest of the text. It might be good to check who you include/exclude when you refer to those that are experiencing a lack of feminism in internet protocols. At the moment, we found many different groupings, some more clearly intersectional than others: 'women and non-binary people', 'women and marginalised people', 'women and queer people', 'specific, traditionally discriminated groups', 'women and other gender identities traditionally marginalized from public life and social acceptance', 'non binary people' ... etc.
  • We noticed that the glossary is at this point mainly containing technical terms, but it might be necessary to expand it with terms such as:
    • Global South [how about specifying location not in relation to others but crediting at least the names of the countries but maybe better to credit the contributors of the research that is being referred to?]
    • Woman [For example: By 'women' we mean people that identify as female]
    • Intersectionality
    • Queer
    • Marginalization
    • Difference
    • Female
    • Consent
    • ...

Additional annotations: draft-feminism_comments.txt

@Networkswithanattitude Networkswithanattitude changed the title Networks with an attitude comments to RFC Comments on draft-feminism.md Jul 7, 2019

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