Internet for Dummettes

The “X for Dummies” series has its detractors who find it offensive, for sure. But, as Rebecca Rosen points out in “Thank God Somebody Finally Stepped in and Explained the Internet to Women” in The Atlantic, there is something especially offensive about this French-language series that is directed specifically at female “dummies” who want to learn about the internet or their computer.

Why exactly do we need a gender-specific series about this? The English translation of the explanation reads as follows:  “Free of boring, technical considerations, this book focusses on the practical and fun sides of Macs. Of course, you will have to learn to use the operating system and domesticate it [it’s not clear if this referes to the operating system or the Mac]. But we promise to give you only the minimum tools necessary to survive in “this hostile environment”. In the chapter about the Internet, we give you all the tips to start surfing with peace of mind, communicate with your friends via messaging services [the original uses “amis”, which thankfully acknowledges that women can have male friends], go shopping safely.”

Rebecca Rosen’s final comment captures how many of us probably feel about this: “Le sigh.”

Women Academics and the Media

Are women academics less likely than their male colleagues to present themselves as experts? Shari Graydon, a former newspaper journalist who now runs a consulting firm called Informed Opinions, thinks so. Ms. Graydon runs regular on-campus workshops with academics in Canada about how to share their expertise with the public. She has surveyed hundreds of female academics and found that they are quoted in media reports far less often than men. “The skew is so significant – it’s currently about 80-20 [male to female],” says Ms. Graydon. She notes that women tend to fear that they will look presumptuous by speaking on a subject and they also prefer taking time to consider their answers – a definite impediment for television and radio broadcasts. “There’s a whole contribution and value that we’re not getting access to if they’re not sharing what they know,” she says.

from “Dancing with the media: Academics need the media to help publicize their work, but when important findings are distorted it can lead to decades of distrust,” by Tim Johnson.

Indian cartoonist arrested on sedition charges after criticizing government corruption

Indian cartoonist arrested on sedition charges after criticizing government corruption

“India police have arrested a political cartoonist on sedition charges after his drawings criticizing government corruption irked the ruling Congress party…”

Police had no grounds to arrest cartoonist Aseem Trivedi: Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil

“… ‘If telling the truth makes me [a] traitor then I am one… if I am booked under sedition for doing service to the nation then I will continue to do so.’…”

Sedition: does it have any place in modern India? [pertinent info here – is it accurate?]


India Against Corruption (IAC) Statement on Aseem Trivedi issue

Cartoons Against Corruption‎ [what’s up with/what about the “Gang Rape of Mother India” cartoon?]

see also former post on:

Does Criticizing India Count as Sedition? Arundhati Roy Will Find Out

Reader Query: Feminists on duties to oneself?

A reader writes:

I’ve been doing some research on duties to oneself and have become interested in what feminists writers or feminist writings have had to say on that topic. But I’ve found very little directly on duties to oneself and only a small amount that is more indirectly related (e.g., Robin Dillon’s work on self-respect). Doubtless there are sources here that I have simply failed to unearth. Is there feminist work out there on duties to oneself?