At the same time as web memes and cewebrities receive a nod from the academic and professional community coalescing around ROFLcon, a conference celebrating the like, other well known time sucks, most notably, content authored by women, were deemed a waste of energy. Inspired by the conference itself which continued its tradition of hosting panels with a 0% female to male speaker ratio, artist Steve Lambert unveiled a fake new Firefox add-on removing all pesky internet material made by women [footage above]. Lambert, an activist known for such projects as Add-art, and The New York Times Special Edition made a compelling argument for eradicating women from the web — as evidenced by the awkwardness in the room as he presented – his words ultimately re-enforcing a case built by the feedback I received from two college aged conference organizers on the subject. Accounting for the lack of women speakers, the girls explained the issues to me as such:
1) We didn’t have the budget to fly the girl we wanted to have on the panel in from San Francisco. [No female web celebrities live in New York!]
2) Featured attendee Obama Girl
didn’t show up. [Women are flaky and unreliable!]
3) We made a list of memes we liked and none of them were made by women. [Women don't make memes!]
4) I’m 21. As a woman I don’t want to be famous for one thing. [Memes limit a woman's web career!]
5) We thought it was a bad idea to include women who were exploiting their body for attention. [We shouldn't have invited Obama girl!]
6) You didn’t alert us to this problem early enough. [Women aren't proactive and neither are we!]
To be fair, my impression from talking to the organizers was not that the conference doesn’t believe the number of invited women speakers at ROFLthing a legitimate problem, they simply haven’t been compelled to address it in any meaningful way. As such, I have posted Lambert’s presentation on youtube as a means of continuing an online conversation the artist began on Saturday. I’m also encouraging readers to make contributions to a hand picked list of women working on the East Coast who should be invited to speak at tech conferences. These names will be added to Jen Bekman’s
list of Women Speakers for Your Conference
, if they aren’t there already.
Coincidentally, Bekman is looking for someone to help turn her list into searchable database. Those interested in volunteering their expertise should let themselves be known either in the comments section of this blog or on her site
– Director of the new media arm of the New Museum, Rhizome.org
– Design Director of Wall Street Journal
– Chair of the new MFA program in interaction design @ the School of Visual Arts.
– Editor/Journalist, maintains the well known art blog c-monster
– net/performance artist
– book publicist, with an emphasis in online PR/marketing
– legal counsel at the Free Software Foundation also a program, uber-smart and technical and great.
– Director of Technology at the Brooklyn Museum.
Thanks to her direction the Museum is well known for using social media software in innovative ways.
– journalist, long time blogger/interactive person, founder of popandpolitics.com
, npr commentator, frequent guest on Bill Maher show.
– Senior Research Specialist, Pew Internet (DC)
actress in flight of the conchords, horrible people (web series), and correspondent on the daily show
(her “great schlep” web campaign for obama was amazing. she was also in the middle of that “fucking matt damon” series of videos this year)