Kathy Sierra says she lost nothing by quitting social media after receiving numerous death threats

Kathy Sierra says she lost nothing by quitting social media after receiving numerous death threats

Sierra was the target of a flood of graphic death threats over her blog about web design. Yes, that’s right — web design.

Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything podcast:

In 2007 writer, programmer, and horse trainer Kathy Sierra quit the internet because of misogynist hate trolling. She stayed off the social web for 7 years but last year she came back to see what Twitter was like. She tells us why she only lasted a few weeks and her theory about why so many women are targets online. Plus Danielle Keats Citron explains how we could use the law to drain the cesspool.

Trump never backs down from a fight. That’s the key to beating him

Axelrod on former Miss Universe dustup: Trump took the bait – Louis Nelson, Politico

When you’re going up against someone who never backs down from a fight, you get to pick the time and place of the conflict. That’s a big advantage for Clinton.

Trump is going after Alicia Machado now. That’s helps Clinton for all kinds of reasons, one of them being that Machado isn’t Trump’s opponent — Clinton is.

Trump is sending a message to women, and it’s the wrong one. Trump is sending the message that Machado is a bad girl, and bad girls deserve to be called fat pigs. And Trump gets to decide who’s a good girl and a bad girl.

Trump’s campaign has decided the most important thing it can be doing a month before the Presidential election is go after a model because she said mean things about him. That’s the kind of priority-setting he will use as President.

Fat-shaming is a really bad idea for anybody looking to win friends in America. Consider the number of Americans who are overweight, worry they’re overweight even if they’re not, were once overweight, or love someone who’s overweight. That’s pretty much the entire country.

The Black Panthers’ overlooked revolution

They weren’t a violent revolutionary political party — or they weren’t just that. While Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and Eldredge Cleaver grabbed headlines, women did community activism. Yohuru Williams and Bryan Shih at the Nation speak with four women Black Panthers on the occasion of the Panthers’ 50th anniversary.

Ericka Huggins:

When mainstream journalists talk to me, they want to know, “What really happened?” Whereas young people are looking back and saying, “Wow, 50 years ago you fed people? Forty-five years ago you created schools that were student-centered and community-based? You had clinics? You had bus-to-prison programs that were free? How did you do that without social media?” I love those conversations, because I feel that young people are convincing themselves they can do the same thing. After all, the median age of party members was 19 years old.

Marie Manning wanted to be a crime reporter. Instead, she invented the advice column.

Fresh out of finishing school, with a name that appeared on the social registry of Washington D.C.’s debutante parties, Marie Manning was fascinated by true crime stories. She got a job as a newspaper reporter in 1892, but was soon sidelined to the “Hen Coop” to work on the “women’s page.” There, they received letters from people looking for advice, and Manning cooked up the idea to run the letters and answers as a regular column.

“I’m newly sober and dog-paddling through the booze all around me.”

Hellaciously excellent rant by Kristi Coulter, who says women need to drink to live in the world created by and for men:

Do you remember the Enjoli perfume commercial from the 1970s? The chick who could bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man?

I blame that bitch for a lot. For spreading the notion that women should have a career, keep house, and fuck their husbands, when the only sane thing to do is pick two and outsource the third. For making it seem glamorous. For suggesting it was going to be fun. And for the tagline she dragged around: “The 8-Hour Perfume for the 24-Hour Woman.” Just in case you thought you could get one fucking hour off the clock.

Plenty more where that came from.

I’m drinking less and less as I get older. It’s not a moral or health choice. I’m just more aware that I don’t like it most of the time. And I’m more aware that much of the time I used to drink, I was just drinking to fit in. Every now and then, I do like a nice beer or a glass of wine or a martini or Jameson’s rocks. But I often go weeks or months without partaking, and don’t miss it.

Claire North unmasked! Why one life isn’t enough for “Harry August” author

Charlie Jane Anders interviews the pseudonymous author of “The First First Fifteen Lives of Harry August,” which Julie and I both loved.

The author’s real name is Catherine Webb, who write her first book when she was 14, and who wrote seven more successful young-adult novels and a series of fantasy novels for adults using the pseudonym Kate Griffin. Pseudonyms keep a writer from being pigeonholed, but they have their own pitfalls.

Webb made the protagonist of “Harry August” male because a female protagonist would have inevitably made gender more of a focus of the novel than Webb wanted it to be.

The biggest reason for writing a male protagonist was the history of the 20thcentury itself. When Harry August is born, women still don’t have the vote; by the time he dies, the women’s rights movement is a loud voice fighting battles across the world. The change in society in that century is massive, but women were – and are still – discriminated against. Knowing what I do of my own politics, it seemed unlikely that I’d get through the book without being drawn massively into the world of gender politics and the changing battle for women’s rights throughout the century, and while this is vitally important and a story that must be told, the story of the kalachakra didn’t feel like the right way in which to tell it. Writing a male protagonist, therefore, allowed me to focus on the story of the Cronus Club that seemed most appropriate to the narrative.

Webb has training as a historian, and says writing a historical novel requires a mind-trick:

 A great deal of the history wasn’t about big events – Harry August spends a lot of time dodging World War Two, for example – but about zooming in on little things that made the time come alive. Thus, 1936 would not be described by someone living in it as ‘a year when war became inevitable’ since in 1936, war wasn’t inevitable and no one without the burden of retrospect would think of it in terms of war, whatever history has to say on the subject now. Rather, it is a year of jazz, economic recovery and the rise of ‘talkie’ movies. A generic knowledge might point to Charlie Chaplin as being active in this era; a quick internet search reveals the movies he made; a look at the movie of the year (Modern Times) shows that by then talkies were well underway; another click through gives the names of rival ‘talkie’ movies and fairly quickly, from just a general sense of what was happening in a decade, you have the kind of details of leading actors and popular musicians that can bring a year to life.

The Singularity is a white person’s problem

terminator

Rich white folks worry about the Singularity, but AI is already making problems for the rest of us.

Kate Crawford, The New York Times:

According to some prominent voices in the tech world, artificial intelligence presents a looming existential threat to humanity: Warnings by luminaries like Elon Musk and Nick Bostrom about “the singularity” — when machines become smarter than humans — have attracted millions of dollars and spawned a multitude of conferences.

But this hand-wringing is a distraction from the very real problems with artificial intelligence today, which may already be exacerbating inequality in the workplace, at home and in our legal and judicial systems. Sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination are being built into the machine-learning algorithms that underlie the technology behind many “intelligent” systems that shape how we are categorized and advertised to.

Software used to assess the risk of recidivism in criminals is biased against blacks, as is software used by police departments across the US to identify hotspots for crime. Amazon’s same-day delivery service was initially unavailable for ZIP codes in predominantly black neighborhoods, “remarkably similar to those affected by mortgage redlining in the mid-20th century.” And women are less likely than men to be shown ads on Google for highly paid jobs.

Thanks, Cory!

Women were stars of early computing, but that changed abruptly in 1984. Why?

That was the year that personal computers started showing up in homes in great numbers, as toys for boys. Not girls. Boys. Planet Money has more:

This idea that computers are for boys became a narrative. It became the story we told ourselves about the computing revolution. It helped define who geeks were, and it created techie culture.

Movies like Weird Science, Revenge of the Nerds and War Games all came out in the ’80s. And the plot summaries are almost interchangeable: awkward geek boy genius uses tech savvy to triumph over adversity and win the girl.

In the 1990s, researcher Jane Margolis interviewed hundreds of computer science students at Carnegie Mellon University, which had one of the top programs in the country. She found that families were much more likely to buy computers for boys than for girls — even when their girls were really interested in computers.

This was a big deal when those kids got to college. As personal computers became more common, computer science professors increasingly assumed that their students had grown up playing with computers at home.

When Women Stopped Coding (Planet Money podcast)

“Stop telling me I’m ‘beautiful.’ I’m ugly. It’s fine.”

Kristin Salaky, The Washington Post:

I am blessed to be friends with some amazing and strikingly beautiful women. They are generous and kind and when I’ve spoken on this subject before, they’re devastated. But when we go out together, I’m treated by men like an obstacle to get around. Sometimes, guys walks away from me mid-conversation to talk to a better-looking girl. When I write pieces on this subject or even allude to having an opinion online, anonymous Twitter trolls tell me I wouldn’t be so unattractive if I didn’t dye my hair, got a good chemical peel and stopped “eating Oreo’s more than vegetables.”

I’m not the only one to experience this. Attractive waiters earn more tips. Beautiful people get more job interviews, get promoted more quickly and make more money than their unattractive counterparts. They’re even seen as more “morally upright.” Studies have even shown a bias in juries when the defendant is attractive.

This is why the ad campaigns that tell everyone they’re beautiful are so dangerous. They link beauty with worthiness and kindness, doing nothing for the people thrust into the world knowing that simply isn’t true.

Instead, we should teach people, especially women, that their beauty doesn’t define them. We need to teach them that their worth comes from much more than their appearance. We need to stop shopping the narrative that everyone is beautiful (or could be, if they did x, y, z). We need to lift women up to be competitive workers, voracious learners and empathetic people. No matter what they look like.

Stop telling me I’m ‘beautiful.’ I’m ugly. It’s fine.

Thought-provoking.

I googled the author’s photo. She looks fine. Like a normal person. Even pretty in a couple of photos.

Elvira is thinking about hanging up the wig and slinky gown

 

Actress Cassandra Peterson might keep coming to Comic-Con, but not as the character she’s best known for: Elvira, Mistress of the Dark:

 “I said it was going to be my last year when I was 40, when I was 50, when I was 60,” she says. “It’s not really my last Comic-Con, but it’s probably my last Comic-Con in Elvira drag, because really, how long do people want to see that?” she asks, half-joking.

“I do have to draw the line. I’m turning 65 this September, I’m trying to keep it together, I’m not sure how many years I can keep this working out,” she says, gesturing to her body. She’s worried about how she’s perceived — she doesn’t want to wear out her welcome.

“I don’t think women should have an expiration date, [but] unfortunately, some things don’t hold up as well as others, so there is a thing about playing a particular character — my character is based very much on the sexy, so continuing to try to be really sexy until you’re really old might not work,” she says. “Humor definitely takes the edge off of it, because if you’re self-deprecating, you can still be sexy, and it’s sort of OK, as long as it resonates that way with the fans.”

My $0.02: Mae West never retired, and neither should Elvira.

Why This Might be Elvira’s Last Comic-Con (as Elvira) [Katie Buenneke/LA Weekly]

Via Boing Boing/Jason Weisberger. Thanks!

How ‘Game Of Thrones’ Became One Of The Most Feminist Shows On TV

Jess Hendel praises grrl power on Game of Thrones for Bustle:

Most obviously, almost of the rulers are now women (or are poised to be women in future seasons). Outside of Jon Snow, it’s hard to even imagine a male ruler in the GoT universe anymore—or at least one who doesn’t totally make a mess of his reign. Daenerys decisively quelled the Masters’ rebellion in Mereen and is headed across the Narrow Sea to conquer Westeros. Yara Greyjoy sails out with her, aiming to capture the throne of the Iron Islands and reclaim their sovereignty. Ellaria and the Sand Snakes rule over Dorne, conspiring with Oleanna Tyrell — the Queen of Thorns — now the sole proprietor of her house. I even got a morbid sense of pleasure (actually, “morbid sense of pleasure” could describe most GoT viewing experiences) at watching Cersei literally annihilate an oppressive religion in one fell swoop and be subsequently crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.

Not to mention the ferocious Lady Mormont (can you imagine how hard it would be to babysit that kid?), and the queenly aspirations Sansa is no doubt mulling over in that shared look with Littlefinger during the “King of the North” scene in the finale. Overall, the Women of Westeros (book club name, anyone?) have maneuvered, manipulated, and all-out fought their way into the throne room — and already seem better equipped to handle the burdens of ruling than their weak, sociopathic, or blatantly incompetent male predecessors.” …

One of my favorite peripheral jokes of this season was Tormund Giantsbane’s blatant crush on Brienne. It would appear to be an empty gag, were it not for the fact that Brienne also seems to be the only woman besides Cersei who is capable of [piquing] Jamie Lannister’s interest. And why shouldn’t a male character desire Brienne? She can have typically “masculine” qualities and still be desirable as a woman.

There’s no mystery to Cersei’s appeal. She’s the Hannibal Lector of GoT — the villain you cheer for.

Why Queen Elizabeth wouldn’t sit on the Iron Throne when she visited the set of “Game of Thrones”

British law forbids the monarch from sitting on a foreign throne. 

I really, really want to hate the Queen, but she keeps doing classy stuff like this.

Also: She worked as a mechanic in World War II. And it wasn’t just for show. By all accounts, she was good at it.

And the time she personally drive a Saudi royal around one of her estates, and scared the piss out of him, because women aren’t allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. I picture her afterwards, alone in the royal apartments with her Corgis, remembering the Saudi prince’s face and laughing her ass off.

 

“Apparently, no one hipped these guys to the fact that a remake doesn’t render the first one non­existent. Strange but true.”

I have no plans to see the current “Ghostbusters.” A “Ghostbusters” remake doesn’t interest me, no matter what equipment the ‘busters are packing in their pants. Or, um, jumpsuits I guess.

Thanks, guys: Going to see the all-female ‘Ghostbusters’ is now a political act [Ann Hornaday – The Washington Post]

“When I Put My Political Views On Social Media I Lost My Biggest Accounts”

PR woman Cheryl Conner writes about a Cheryl Rios, a fellow PR person who says she lost a lot of business when she posted her political views online.

I used to be concerned about that myself – that posting my political views might alienate people I need to work with. However, I’ve been talking politics on social media for many years now, and it doesn’t seem to have hurt my work.

I try to be respectful of my peers, even though I’m often disdainful of public officials and of views I think are foolish.

Also, my views aren’t particularly outrageous.

Also, I nearly always keep political discussions away from work venues.

Still, I have been concerned about alienating industry people through my political posts. I discussed that with a friend inside the industry. He pointed out that a lot of people like to argue. So for everyone I alienate, presumably there’s someone else who’s attracted to the opportunity to tell me what a dope I am.

Conner writes about using political posts as a means of building business. That’s not why I do it. They are compartmentalized. My political posts and my work are separate parts of my life. As Americans, we have a right to free speech, and as Americans we have a duty to exercise that write where we believe something strongly.

I’m burying the lede here.

Throughout reading Conner’s article, I wondered what terrible views Rios held that made her anathema to her clients. Conner doesn’t say. So I looked her up.

Rios says a woman should never be President because hormones make them unsuitable wartime heads of state, and also because it’s in the Bible.

Rios’s problem isn’t that she expressed a political view online. Her problem is that her view is ignorant. Counter-examles from history: Queen Elizabeth, Golda Meir. Counter-examples from the Bible: Deborah, Jael, and the Queen of Sheba.

Different world

Meet the men of PR: ‘It is a different world for us’ [Yuyu Chen – Digiday]

It can get lonely for a guy in PR.

One senior exec with more than 15 years experience has often found himself to be the only man in the room. He recalls one meeting in particular when, while waiting for things to get started, a female colleague gushed about Tory Burch. Others joined in. “I had no idea what in the world they were talking about,” he said. “She responded, ‘You don’t know what Tory Burch is?’ And the rest of the women were like, ‘Really?’”

Sure, the smallest violin in the world plays the saddest song for this fellow. And yet, at some of the companies he’s worked for, he was often excluded from happy hour because the rest of his colleagues wanted a girls night out. He’s been left out of office perks, like manicures, when there was no macho equivalent.

I’m curious what my friends in PR think of this.

I have no idea who Tony Burch is. I don’t remember ever hearing the name before.