Sunday, April 05, 2015

post feminism or posthumous feminism - is hi-tech just the new rock and roll?

I've read a lot recently about appalling treatment of women in hi-tech companies (c.f. gamergate). I guess its only surprising if you assume the somewhat dubious rhetoric/narrative that the hi-tech world came out of some sort of Californian hippy past (a very weird narrative if you think about Hewlett/Packard, Microsoft, IBM, and why should Google and Facebook be any different?)
[n.b. education is not immune from this - viz, MIT,  Stanford, and I am sure where I work too...]

So then I started reading some jolly good recent autobiographies starting with
Beverly Martyn's revelations about John Martyn - what a git.
So then I got on to Viv Albertine's great dissection of her life - some hard times - mostly less crap guys, but still some.
Then I read Jah Wobble's Memoirs of a Geezer, which has some extremely funny moments, but some odd views on relationships, although some heroic  stand-in work, similar to John Lydon's tale of waywardness and argumentation, followed by some recovering family work.
Finally (well, most recently) I got Kim Gordon's Girl in the Band (which reminds me, I had read Patti Smith's fantastic Just Kids which is mainly a lament for Robert Mapplethorpe), and see some of the same behaviour.

** update ** - just finished Chrissie Hynde's reckless, self penned autobiography - quite the victim-tale as Beverly Martyn (or elss so, Kim Gordon) - looks like la Hynde was actually the perp in quite a few cases of mayhem, but comes over as caring a lot at least....and surviving (like Albertine) not just, but sucessfully with kids in tow/intact too....some rock tour/music details are quite interesting, although if you really want to know how the music industry works in technical detail, go no further than the master work by David Byrne on the perfectly, simply named, How Music Works.

So what's the common thread? These folks represent a sample of people bought up in US and UK counter culture over the past 50 plus years, and yet, 200 years after Mary Wollestonecraft, there's precious little evidence any of these icon's of our time paid a blind bit of notice to what she said.

So even if the hi-tech sector came out of the counter-culture (which it doesn't) their youth heroes and even mentors were basically a bunch of patronising arseholes.


Stegosarus said...

I'm curious, have you read Chris von Csefalvay's network analysis of gamergate?

jon crowcroft said...

yep - def. related...