Making, gender, and doing

Materials don’t have gender. Neither do the results.

I worked with materials ranging from cloth to glass to steel, techniques from sewing to welding, tools from sewing machine to a lathe, items from jewels to power plants. Neither “side” is any special snowflake, all behave according to the same rules.

Soon one will have to keep a broomstick with nail on its end in one’s kit to keep the philosophers and the gender studies people away when working…


This is the kickass real field leveling thinking I like to see on BB.
Even in allegedly gender, preference, race, nationality, religion, cultural and other traditional discrimination markers there is still the exclusion by class, ableism, wealth, and even like here preference for doing the ‘invisible’ work which may unbalance the equality and recognition that should be shared in a project.




I’m honestly not sure about that. The students I’ve taught in my undergrad classes had pretty much already decided what they thought of my subject beforehand, so I don’t know how early the problem starts. I do believe it occurs at every level, discouraging potential candidates from continuing on to the next one. However, by the time people hit college, teaching them feels more like deprogramming. If gender roles are instilled in childhood, then primary and secondary schools are as much to blame as universities.

It will be, but it’s actually too early to tell if this effort is even beginning to pay off. Retention rates are still bad, and it’s hard to figure out what’s more to blame - obvious factors (e.g. sexism) or something more subtle (e.g. societal pressure).

Pretty much. It’s easy to explain the value of something when there’s an obvious product (bonus points if the product is something practical; nobody wants to pay money for that poetry nonsense). Education has society-wide benefits, but those are not readily apparent. The more abstract the benefits are, the hard it is so sell the discipline.

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It’s not that they do, rather it’s that they are gendered in our culture. For most people, you say “carpenter”, an image of man will pop up in many minds (men and women). You say metal worker, the same. You say knitter or sewer, it’s going to be a woman many people think about. That doesn’t mean that women don’t wood work or that men don’t knit, but that our cultural expectation is that these are indeed generally gendered spaces. Women who engage in these more masculine forms of work are often celebrated while men who knit are sort of seen as less masculine. The ideal is the masculine.

The problem we’re talking about it breaking that popular perception so that more people can enjoy these activities without worrying about the perception. It’s not that people don’t already do that, it’s how that is perceived. It’s not about how you view it, but how it’s popularly viewed.


I’m not a “maker.” I’m a hacker.

“Make,” “maker,” and “making” all are associated in the heads of a lot of folks with Make magazine and whatever agendas it may have. (Same with “makerspace,” etc.)

To me, as someone who was involved in the starting of one hackerspace and co-founded and maintain involvement in another, it feels like a co-opting of “hacking” and really a branding and trademarking exercise.

We’re hackers not “makers.”

If we are still getting more men in STEM at the college level (I'd suspect that the undergrad level is where lots of young women shake out)

Actually it depends on the STEM field. In biology at least, even at the graduate level the stats are pretty even. 46% of recent PhDs in biology are women. The problem is later on in the tenure process as this near-equality at the educational level doesn’t translate into equality at the tenured professor level. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one obvious reason is the continued asymmetry in child-rearing duties – if the women are the people expected to pick up the kids at the daycare at 5, stay home with them when they are sick, take them to soccer practice, and so on, this means they have less time for long hours in the lab in their early careers which are the crucial ones for career success.


Does it matter?

Semantic wanking over words doesn’t get things done. How it is called is way less important than what it is.

Do I care? No. I got a few hints that the “feminine” materials/methods/projects I do are such. Did I care? No. Did it stop me? No.

Ideals schmideals.

You cannot change the society and its perceptions. But you can go full steem ahead, damn the torpedoes, and leave the naysayers and critics in your wake, babbling and fuming and arguing while you’re working on another project. They have less impact than gnats, ignore them.

I take your point on the differences between fields.

That’s a really important point. Until we address this issue, and the expectation that women are the primary caregivers, this isn’t going to change. It’s yet again about perceptions.


As you can see by my post, it wasn’t about YOU and how you view things. Plenty of people break these molds of gender conformity all the time. It’s easier for men to do, and it’s easier for women engaging in masculine activities. It’s about how men and women are imagined differently.

If that were true, Jim Crow would still exist in America and there’d still be laws on the books that said women can be fired when they get pregnant and that rape within marriage isn’t rape, etc and so on. That is demonstrably false claim, I’m sorry. The society we live in isn’t a static, unchanging entity. Engagement with ideas and how they work in our society has an impact and it can make changes in our society.

I know it’s hard to believe, but everything is not about you and how you perceive and experience the world. Other experiences exist and are just as valid and important to understand as yours. You’re dismissive attitude is a bit off putting. If you really don’t care, then don’t’ post on these issues.


double post due to gateway issues

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Uhm, yes, it does matter. One is a branding exercise and a trademark and one is a grassroots thing going back decades.

Based on your other comments, you’re a white dude, right? Care nothing about privilege, gender, or other things, right?

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So if it is easier for men to do feminine activities and for women to do masculine activities, where is The Problem?

The previous attempts failed. The society changes itself, not because some individual’s activities. You can kick the chaotic system left and right, if it is sitting on the attractor it will slide back. Only if it is near or at the unstable point, even a small push can send it over. The big names who did major changes were at the right time at the right place.

Opt out, do your thing, fuck the perceptions and join me if you want, and you do a little destabilizing that ends with more overall effect than pushing others around and telling them what they should do; that often has rather opposite effect. Leading by example antagonizes less.

It does not matter how it is named. Repeat after me, it does not matter how it is named.

Nothing unusual in central/east Europe. About half of people here are white males. What’s the problem with it? Is it a contagious disease?

I’d never heard of them, but that is an amazingly useful idea. I’ve just tried Spreeder, which is both helping me to read faster and overcome some issues related to my dyslexia (a lot of the time it’s difficult to stay in one place on the page, and this removes that problem).

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I don’t’ think I’m being clear, so that’s on me. My point was that activities that are gendered as masculine are more valued than those gendered as feminine.

Right, but that one didn’t. Despite the very deep racism that still exists, no one thinks it was better back then.

No, people change it. you are completely glossing over the hard work many human beings did for nearly a century to get change. Society only changes when people make it. And it requires constant vigilance.

It wasn’t the Kings of the world who made this change, it was the numerous unnamed individuals who put their lives on the line and demanded basic human decency and respect in the law. The montgomery bus boycott was carried almost entirely by black women. many of whom were working class and had only a basic education. It was their victory that was quickly usurped by the men in the movement and it became the

In other words, I should just the inherent neo-liberal me-first agenda? No thanks. The ability to drop out and not be impacted by the power structure diminishes with ones race and gender. A young black man is more deeply affected by racism in society then a young white man. They are being shot for existing. They can’t just “drop out” of how the police perceive them as a threat.

So, I need to stop being a noisy bitch and just accept the status quo is what I’m getting here. My actual lived experiences matter little, because YOU don’t see them as a problem…


I’m a Maker. The stuff I make is damn peculiar shit that isn’t for sale:

It is to satisfy a personal creative impulse, and so I can say “Look at the cool thing I made!”


You look really tired in that last one. Had you been up all night working on it?

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“Making gender and doing”, huh? Is that what the kids call it nowadays?


This seems like a good argument for teaching both STEM and The Arts to all kids.

The sooner we get past trying to measure which Thing is more important to culture, and what the division of labor is by gender doing that Thing, and what value therefore the people involved with the Thing have, the sooner we can get on with the business of raising kids to become responsible adults, regardless of what they do for fun or for a living (or either or both.)


Being an entitled white guy who is unable to entertain the points of view of other people may be. I’ll try not to assume it applies to your whole population though.