Re-cap of Week 2 at the FemTechNet ¡Taller!

Week 2 at the FemTechNet ¡Taller! in San Antonio, TX, October 1, 2013 @ Geekdom

By Penny Boyer, co-facilitator with Laura Varela of FemTechNet ¡Taller! in San Antonio, Texas, at Geekdom.

The theme for Week 2 was SEXUALITIES.

As talleristas arrived, Salt n Pepa’s Let’s Talk About Sex was playing on YouTube.  After brief introductions, we played the weekly FemTechNet video dialogue which this week was between Faith Wilding, Paraguayan-American multidisciplinary artist/writer/educator and Julie Levin Russo, New Media faculty member, Evergreen College on the theme Sexualities.  Wilding framed her sex talk by discussing the collective SubRosa’s recent work with the egg donor experience within the biotech industry as it touches on eugenics, economics (fertility tourism) and cyberculture; JLR discussed her research into fan culture and their contextualized subcultures.

Laura Varela (L) and Penny Boyer (R), co-facilitator of FemTechNet ¡Taller! in San Antonio, Texas, at Geekdom.

(Penny Boyer is pictured on the right, with Laura Varela.)

Our conversation, led largely by guest facilitator Rebeca Lopez, was triggered by the final question laid out in the video by Faith Wilding, “Do we have a concept of a sexual public good?”  This conversation began with a clarification of the term “queer” for one member in the Taller to a nuanced discussion of the reading Amy Adele Hasinoff’s article, “Sexting as Media Production: Rethinking Social Media and Sexuality.”  We watched, as a group, one of the AdCouncil’s PSA’s, “Think Before You Post/Sex Texting Sexting PSA Video” that tallerista Joy-Marie Scott had embedded in her FemTechNet Taller Blog post on the Commons:

Amy Adele Hasinoff’s work on sexting, social media, and sexuality is cracking relevant today.  Hasinoff deconstructs an AdCouncil PSA campaign that warns girls against sending a “hot pic” to a boy who requests one. In this campaign, and much of the national dialogue around sexting, the onus is on the girl to not produce an image of her sexuality. She produces the image and sends it to a trusted partner, and she is blamed. The people who forward the image, against her will or knowledge, are not held accountable for sexual harassment.  Hasinoff compares this anti-sexting campaign to one which blames sexual harassment on the way a woman dresses. Here, it’s not the medium that is the problem but it’s the continuation of blaming the victim. Hasinoff posits: “Instead of ‘think before you post,’ how about ‘think before you forward?’

The group discussion about this PSA led a few talleristas to conceive a FemTechNet project of their own in response to the AdCouncil’s PSA–a PSA explaining to boys how to behave on the receiving end of a ill-distributed sext–a project they may pursue.  The evening evolved into a general discussion about self-perception issues regarding womens’ bodies and ended with a viewing of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines [Feminist Parody] – Defined Lines.”  After that, we adjourned.