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Gender and Technology at IgniteSydney (with presentation slides)


Last night at Ignite Sydney, I presented a 5-minute talk about how technology influences sexual awareness and how sexual awareness returns the favor, influencing the technology that we build. I had an amazing time, although I’m surprised I wasn’t literally vibrating from all my nervous energy. Thankfully, I think it all turned out okay and my presentation was received rather well.

For those of you that missed it, you can expect to find videos of all the presentations, including mine, posted on YouTube within the next few weeks and I’ll update this post when mine gets published. In the mean time, It took longer than I’d hoped and sadly the audio isn’t so great, but my talk is now published on YouTube. Along with that, here are my presentation slides in various formats for your remixing pleasure:

I gave this presentation again some months later at Noisebridge’s 5 Minutes of Fame, shown below, followed by the YouTube version:

All materials in my presentation are by attribution Creative Commons licensed. Briefly, this means you can do whatever you want with it but please give credit where credit is due, just as I’ve done. :)

I do wonder if perhaps this presentation would have been even better received in a place like New York City or San Francisco, where I feel that there is more of an awareness of gender theory and its effects on the way we live day-to-day than there is in Sydney. Still, I’m glad that I set myself this challenge and really thrilled to have pulled it off. It’s amazingly difficult to condense gender theory 101 along with all the stuff I wanted to say about technology into a five minute presentation.

My thanks go out to all the wonderful people who cheered me on both before and after I presented, and to the organizers and volunteers at the event.

Written by Meitar

January 22nd, 2009 at 8:02 pm

14 Responses to 'Gender and Technology at IgniteSydney (with presentation slides)'

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  1. Yes, this presentation would almost certainly have sparked a better conversation in the places you mention, but I’m so glad you didn’t let this fact discourage you. In a sea of convention, you challenged, Meitar. Sydney web community needs more people like you – so sorry to see you are leaving before I’ve even got to know you.

    Maxine Sherrin

    22 Jan 09 at 8:22 PM

  2. Thank you so much, Maxine, that’s incredibly kind of you to say! :) I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to speak at Ignite (I didn’t even realize you were actually present, just that Web Directions was a sponsor) and I sincerely hope we get the opportunity to cross paths once again before I leave.


    22 Jan 09 at 8:47 PM

  3. As someone who was fascinated by the concept when you posted about it, I sincerely hope you consider finding the opportunity to do it again once you reach San Francisco. Good to hear that things went well in Sydney, though!


    22 Jan 09 at 9:31 PM

  4. Thanks, Sigrid. I’d be happy to present this again—I might even be able to do a better job the second time around—so if you hear of an upcoming IgniteSanFrancisco or other place that might be interested in having me present this, please let me know about it. :)


    23 Jan 09 at 3:59 AM

  5. […] * Maymay gave a fantastic talk on gender and technology making the fantastic point that we really need to be communicating with web designers, because they are encoding so much of how we think about gender and sexuality. As a simple example, the people who create social networking sites are influencing our ideas about sex and gender because they are making the drop-down menus we use to express that: for instance, compare your average social networking site — where you can pick “Straight”, “Gay” or if you’re lucky “Bisexual” — to FetLife, which offers many more options — “Straight”, “Heteroflexible”, “Bisexual”, “Gay”, “Lesbian”, “Queer”, “Pansexual”, and “Fluctuating/Evolving”. You can find the slides and links from Maymay’s presentation here. […]

  6. […] MayMay Gender and Technology at IgniteSydney KinkForAll and the Evolution of Sexuality Communities […]

  7. […] What Kind of ManNow it’s all the little thingsToo many tears: My first morning back in NYCGender and Technology at IgniteSydney (with presentation slides)I’m getting a book published and it’s called Foundation Website […]

  8. Any idea when this was posted?


    2 Dec 09 at 7:49 AM

  9. […] not “Gender,” since those two words are not actually interchangeable. See also: Gender and Technology. […]

  10. […] The lynchpin here is a multi-faceted notion of identity. You have a legal identity, a personal identity, a physical identity, a gender identity, a sexual identity, a political identity, an erotic author identity, and so on. Ideally, these identities don’t need to be coupled unless you want one of them to gain the reputation—the credibility—accrued from another. Historically, it’s been difficult to decouple some identities from one another (physical and gendered, for instance), but technology is changing that. […]

  11. […] The terms "mother" and "father" on US passport applications are being replaced with the gender-neutral terms "Parent 1" and "Parent 2". Jennifer Chrisler of the Family Equality Council said the change "allows many different types of families to be able to go and apply for a passport…without feeling like the government doesn't recognize their family." Naturally, anti-gay hate groups like the Family Research Council are outraged, saying the change "violates the spirit if not the letter of the Defense of Marriage Act." The change also highlights a staggeringly underreported issue: the technological infrastructure our society uses to classify people. Changing terms on forms costs real dollars, but perhaps counterintuitively, a gender-neutral infrastructure is not just more humane, it's more cost-effective, too. […]

  12. […] words we use to communicate are the tools with which we teach each other—and our software—about …, who we are, who we like, and why. Designing sexist systems might sound brain-dead, but it’s […]

  13. […] For more on this topic, see my video presentation, “Gender and Technology.” […]

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