The Perverting of The Technically Women

In 2010 I was honored to be asked to join a group of women I greatly admired at a blog about and by women in technology called technicallywomen.com. Don’t go there yet — wait till I explain…

I had known many of the awesome women behind this beautiful site with kickass technical commentary, particularly via Twitter, and perhaps you do too:

… and several more that I got to know after becoming involved.

I wrote about my first post here and contributed a couple more pieces as time continued its hectic pace.

Back in 2010, the fantastically designed site (thanks @yojibee) looked like this:

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Courtesy of Internet Archive at http://web.archive.org/web/20110201210327/http://technicallywomen.com/

Unfortunately, many of us straddle a big crisis of time between jobs, families, community activism, and life and beyond (for women, they call this “work/life ‘balance'”), so the blog, and the domain, eventually lapsed from our hands. Thanks to a tip from co-technically-woman-blogger Susan Scrupski, I went to check it out again today.

Because of our lapse, today, the site at technicallywomen.com looks like this:

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When I looked up the domain registration, I was sadly unsurprised to find that Go Daddy is involved in hosting the “redesign.” But while we’re at it, check out these “helpful” alternates provided by whois – which would let us branch out beyond technical topics into the wild and feminine domains of fashion, hair, health, and just being good ladies:

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Finding the actual registrant will seem to be a little more problematic, since the site is now registered through DomainsByProxy, proudly flaunting that “Your identity is nobody’s business but ours,” right alongside links to complaints, concerns, and law enforcement:

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It obviously behooves us in general to keep on top of domain registrations to protect them and our content, but did it really behoove some anonymous creep to co-opt a domain about technical women and turn it into site purporting to sell soiled panties?

And is it a right, in this case, for that creep’s identity, assisted by DomainsByProxy and hosted by Go Daddy, to be ‘nobody’s business but ours”?

In this case, you may say the “harm” caused is negligible “if any,” and anonymity in general is obviously key to a free Internet. Should anonymity, however, leave us with no recourse should the harms be greater?

The awesome @yojibee is working on next steps, and though no doubt we’ll all continue to be busier than ever and some things will continue to slip through our hands.  But with countless stories and more every day of the systematic shaming of women away from technical careers, with more women scared into hiding offline for fear of identity theft, porn, cyberbullying, suicide, and worse (thanks Sarah Parmenter, Anita Sarkeesian, Amanda Todd), who and what do we really need to protect?

I don’t have an answer, but it seems like we as a whole, as citizens of the Internet and the world, need to be better than this.

6 thoughts on “The Perverting of The Technically Women

  1. Thank you for raising your voice here and on twitter. This should not be blithely “accepted”. On the “Domains by Proxy” website it also says: “But don’t even think about using our service to spam, violate the law, or engage in morally objectionable activities.”. If exploiting women (technical or otherwise) and humiliating and objectifying them isn’t morally objectionable, what is? I know that @yojibee and others of us that were on the original site are not afraid to speak out. Reporting abuse and generating awareness of how damaging this messaging is to us in the industry and to women in general is our duty. Unitl the violence stops: http://www.vday.org/ten-years-vday/until-the-violence-stops

  2. Thank you so much Marilyn. I want to make it clear in case I wasn’t above that I in no way am against anonymity in domain registration – I realize this is a key tenent of the Internet and a key protection even/especially for the most vulnerable among us. Neither am I against whatever individual may want to make an honest business in – uh – hocking soiled panties, if that’s your thing. But this smacks of something different – panties are actually not (yet?) sold on this site above (which I’m told uses Victoria’s Secret images) and if it is set up as a site to parody, harass, intimidate, or eventually cross the line into this or worse, under the guise of technical women – I happen to think it is our duty not to turn away under the guise of Internet freedom and to instead redouble efforts towards accountability. And not as determined by a panel of telecom execs, as someone mistakenly postulated on Twitter. I’m talking more about @karoli’s ideas here: http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/2012/07/10/from-the-bully-files-2012-edition/ We can do better. Especially if we stop turning against each other.

  3. So, are you still seeking the “anonymous creep” who has taken over ownership of the site. How embarrassing would it be for you if this perverted creep was in fact a woman?

  4. You’ve already painted a nice picture of some sick perverted “creep” in his basement getting off on the thought turning the site into some female-degrading panty selling store. With your thoughts of having this creep portraying women badly, I think it would be ironic if the person responsible was instead a woman.

  5. It’s ok if it’s a women. Any human is capable of hurt and harm – and misunderstanding and being misunderstood as well. Far greater is our collective capacity to love and to forgive. Wishing you the best in 2014 and beyond.

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