Women in tech

Wow, this guy’s got a lot of gear!

She’s a girl, actually.

This was an observation of someone at the opening, peeking behind the curtain at Status Update’s tangled guts of wire and amplifiers and clicking relays- and the response of one of the other fellows, who told me about it later. When he told me about it, I laughed, pleased at the idea of altering someone’s perspective.

Being a woman working in media and using tools that tend to be something of a boys’ club is an interesting thing to me, though it’s a thing I’ve spent little time analyzing. Why did that exchange spark the reaction that it did? Would the assumption or reaction have been the same if I were a painter or a photographer or a choreographer or an actor? I’m not any of those things, so I really can’t say.

I do get a certain satisfaction from being something unexpected, but I’m also a bit disheartened that the assumption my piece was created by a guy may have been a common one.

The people – mostly guys – I’ve met in the electronic music/circuit bending/hardware hacking world are people with whom I clearly share common interests, and tend to get along well. I’ve found this niche of the music/art/tech world one that is incredibly welcoming and inclusive – but there is a lingering sense of female-ness as a novelty. It’s a feeling paralleled to a certain extent in the community of science fiction and fandom, with which I also self-define.

While I don’t really mind living with that self-consciousness (and appreciate it in some ways) I do wonder how it can or should or will effect my work or process, and if or how the knowledge that I’m a woman can unintentionally frame someone’s perception of what I’ve made.