Category Archives: Uncategorized

Blog Post 11 – Safe Space

It wasn’t until Safe Space training this afternoon that I realized the scope of gender identity, sexual orientation and privilege. Not all people understand the conscious efforts and decisions “minorities” have to make in their everyday life. In an activity towards the end of training, nine students rose their hands and put them down as soon as they lost their privilege. For the purposes of the activity, it was assumed everyone was a white straight male and 90 percent of the population was homosexual. One by one, everyone’s hand fell. It wasn’t until half way through the activity that I realized the roles were reversed and they were homosexual males being victimized by the heterosexist society.

People we harassed at a movie theatre in Birkdale, one person couldn’t study abroad in the country of they choice, one person didn’t connect with anyone at work, and another person was fired from their summer camp job. All of this violence comes down to gender dynamics in today’s society. Men can’t be seen as feminist and women can’t be seen as masculine. The victimization has only grown with the help of technology. Last month alone, 1 million people tweeted the word fag and 800,000 tweeted the word dyke.

These problems need to be addressed on campus and throughout the country if any real progress is going to made going forward. We can’t just expect to wake up one day and have life before us change. I thought the training was extremely provoking and interesting.

Blog Post 10 – Gender in Technology

After the reading for this morning’s class as well as the class discussion has kept me thinking all afternoon. Why is it that women have to adopt a male’s mentality in order to be successful in the technology sector. In the opening section “Feminist Constructivist Technology Studies,” Catharina Landstorm says that a male’s design style is and always will be a stable factor. She goes on to claim that one of the reasons for this claim is the “I-Methodology.” This term can be defined in a couple of sentences. Over the course of time, men have grown up designing video games and other aspects of technology. Thus, when they get to the stage of designing whichever technology they are working on, they use themselves as the model user.

The “I-Methodoloy” is extremely interesting to me. I understand that the men dominate the technology sector. But, from several readings and other discussions, girls have wanted to get involved in the industry. Thus, why don’t female’s design games that they see themselves playing when they have the opportunity to be in charge of designing technology. Clearly there is something that I am missing, or else it would be happening as we speak, but this fact seems very interesting to me. I would like to know what other people thought as they read the first section of this week’s reading.

Blog Post 9 – Final Project

Over the course of the past several weeks, I have been considering the Final Project. The goal is to write a 10-12 page paper focusing on some aspect of gender and technology. At first, the broad prompt gave a shortage of ideas. Then, after some thought, I thought about the role of women in beer advertisements. I remember doing a very interesting project about advertisements in middle school and the topic of beer ads came to the fore front of the discussion.

I think this good be a really interesting project, but I have a few apprehensions. Will there be enough scholarly information? When picking a topic for my Final Economics Statistics course, I struggled to find a topic because of the lack of available information. I haven’t looked into the Library’s databases yet, so I am hoping that this topic will allow me to reach the minimum requirement of 4-5 sources. Will I be able to come up with a strong enough thesis? There are very distinguishable qualities that beer advertisements have, but I am growing more and more concerned that I will be able to generate a clear thesis to guide the entire project.

Overall, I am looking forward to doing some research and start writing the paper. It is just concerning to tackle a sizable project before obtaining an information.

Blog Post 8 – Gone Home

This blog post intends to strike discourse regarding my experience playing “Gone Home” last week. Growing up, the video games my brothers and I played were Call of Duty, Supersmash Brothers, Madden, NHL, MLB and FIFA. Although I enjoyed these video games, I could never play one for a particularly long time before losing interest. Due to my previous experience and Call of Duty being my favorite game, I went into this video game pessimistic.

The opening scene reminded me of games on “Addicting Games” I would play for several seconds before getting frustrated for not being able to find the key. However, I was pleasantly surprised by my interest in “Gone Home.” Will, Cam and I searched the downstairs thick and thin to piece together what family life was like. We all found it particularly startling that a family member was coming home from a year abroad and no one was there to greet her. This fact alone made us very intrigued. From here, we didn’t really know what our objective to the game was until we saw the locked locker in Sam’s room.

Now, the game got interesting, we being searching for the key, looking for maps and any clues we could find. By the end, I wanted to go back to learn more as this game was similar to the patchwork girl. You never really know if you saw everything, read everything and completed every task.

Throughout this process, I kept asking myself what qualifies as a “gamer?” We touched the surface of this in class, yet I still find myself confused. I personally don’t consider myself a gamer, but does the fact that I still want to play Gone Home another time make me one?

Blog Post 7 – Makey Make

Yesterday’s class is the inspiration for this post. During our allotted time, our group experimented with playing a song using sounds downloaded from the internet and bottles. At the time, I thought it was a great activity and a successful cyborg. Myself, for example, was able to play the drums to my beat without actually knowing how to play the instrument. It wasn’t until afterwards that I thought our group or any group may not have touched a boundary object.

Thinking back to the Cyborg Manifesto, Donna Haraway examines how boundaries of human/nonhumans, humans/animals, physical/nonphysical, humans/machines are crossed. Other than being a human and using a machine, I can’t help to think that my group specifically didn’t cross any boundary object. Rather, we just played music using bottles.

I wonder if, given more time, we could have actually crossed a boundary object. Using the “makey makes” what would this have looked like? What should we have done differently? We were given such a powerful system and I feel as though we didn’t make the most of it.

Blog Post 6 – You Cant Judge a Book by its Cover

As you can tell by the title, this post examines the stereotypes underlying our culture. Most little kids, including myself, picked books out of the library or Barnes and Nobles based on the cover. If I saw a baseball on the front, I automatically assumed that I would enjoy reading the Mike Lupica story. Sometimes, it was the cases, and often times it wasn’t. After spending time with, “Coding Like a Girl” and “Computer Geeks replaces Computer Girls,” I began to think how we can’t judge a “book” by its cover in the real world.

The two article examine female coders and the lack of “recognition” they receive from fellow coders strictly due to their gender and appearance. In one of the articles, a female coder went to a conference in a dress with makeup and her hair done. The results of her day were shocking. Not one person approached her to discuss work, coding and the future of female coders. The only interaction she had with fellow coders and computer geeks was when she asked them questions to demonstrate that she was extremely intelligent. That night she went home and debated not going back to the conference the following day. Instead of staying away, she wore jeans and a tee-shirt. Couple with the change in wardrobe, she didn’t do her hair and didn’t wear any makeup. When she showed up to the conference, the two days couldn’t even be compared.

Not only does this happen with gender, but it also happens with race. Davidson College Men’s Basketball team is not ranked 24th in the AP top 25 Poll as well as the USA today Coach’s Poll. Do to the general stereotypes of the top 25 and basketball players in general, outsiders with little knowledge of Davidson would think that our team was very athletic, tall and a majority of our players would be African American. Look at Georgetown University. They are number 23, only one spot ahead of us. There team is almost completely African American and they have 7 players over 6 feet 8 inches. Davidson College has four African American Players and only 4 players over 6 feet 8 inches. Davidson has an extremely talented team but you cannot look at the number 24 before our school an make assumptions about our roster just as you couldn’t with the female coders.

In today’s world, it is extremely hard to generalize certain jobs, sports teams, schools and genders in particular fields, yet we find ourselves doing it all the time. Why do we judge “books” by their covers all the time just to find ourselves making common mistakes due to stereotypes? This fact is very concerning to me and is the driving cause for this post.

Blog Post 5 – Selfies

Selfie is defined as a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or cell phone. The word selfie was introduced into the Oxford-English dictionary several years ago after it became an international fad. The selfie, only gaining popularity in recent months, is not going anywhere with the likes of snapchat, tinder, instagram and the newly invented selfie stick. I would argue that selfies can be broken down into three distinct categories.

The first category is comedic effect. I am not the type of person who takes selfies to post on Facebook, but I do occasionally send snapchats of myself to friends. In these snapchats, my only intention is humor. For example, I took a selfie of myself with my yoga mat at PE class two weeks ago. I knew some of my closer friends back home would crack up when they saw my roommate and me taking weekly yoga classes. Occasionally, there are snapchats that pop up on Facebook of my friends making funny faces with a comical caption.

The second category is selfies that are to be posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Tinder. These selfies, similar to what we discussed, are posed and thoughtful similar to a self portrait. Before posting one of these photos, the person thinks about the way they want to be perceived whether it is a physical activity/hobby they want people to know about or if they look exceptionally good and want people to see the photo. There are easy ways to hide certain features when taking selfies, based on the angle of attack, lighting, area of focus, accessories. When taking a selfie that is meant to be posted on social media, all of these components are thought about decisively.

The third category is the desire to show people what you are doing. This category is similar to photos. Last weekend, I won a squash tournament. I took a picture of myself with the trophy to show my parents. The goal of this photograph was to keep my parents, family and friends at an arms length away thousands of miles apart. Pictures are worth a thousands of words and make a relationship feel that much stronger. People also take selfies at the top of a hiking trail, surfing in the ocean, and biking on cliffs to show people what they are up to.

My main goal of this blog post is to demonstrate that it is hard to generalize the intent behind a selfie. In class a term like narcissistic was thrown onto the board. Although one can make the argument that even when you don’t care how you look, you are subconsciously aware, I think all selfies range in motive and are hard to create a “formula” for. For the next couple of days, walk around campus and spot the people taking pictures of themselves. Think about their facial expression, where they are, what they are doing and I think you might get a better sense that all selfies have a different motive.

Blog Post 4 – Gender In Student Government

Earlier this week, Davidson College’s next SGA President and Vice President were sworn in. Ben Callinder, the new Vice President, and I happen to be close friends. After the election was over, I began to reflect on my own student government experiences from high school. I noticed that student governments are overwhelmingly dominated by males. The Student Senate at my high school was made up of 10 guys. This years Presidential Election on campus only had male candidates. I am confused as to why these type of positions are dominated by males?

I came across a New York Times article earlier today about gender and student government. University of Southern California is set to elect their first female Student Body President in ten years. The article notes, similar to my experience, that the trend of female underrepresentation in Student Government is still continuing. Date shows that 63 percent of females have not even thought about running for such positions compared to 43 percent of men. At bigger schools, that difference accounts for thousands of students. Based on these statistics, it appears that this gender gap will remain for an extended period of time. I am just confused as to how this gap even started in the first place.

Even though this article mainly focusses on Student Government, we can see women’s leadership isn’t close to that of men. We have yet to have a Female President of the United States. Augusta National just admitted their first female member three months ago. The number of male CEOs outweighs the number of female CEOS. I don’t know what it is about our social construct that leads to this dramatic difference in “power,” but their is clearly an underlying theme. Is it just society catching up from the early colonialism time period? Is it the way males look down upon women? Is it just that women don’t enjoy these roles? This is something that I have began to think about more and more recently and I am just confused as to why.

Blog Post 3- Patchwork World

Today’s discussion of the Patchwork Girl by Shelley Jackson got me thinking about how I am my own “patchwork.” Although I am not physically stitched together, I have been pieced together by the genetics of my parents and their respective families. In the everyday world we hear people say, “you like exactly like your uncle” or “you have your mothers eyes” and even “you and your grandfather have the exact same build.” I am know biology major, in fact I have never taken a biology class before but I know that this is because of genetics and chromosomes.

To put it in perspective, my eyes, including the fact that I am color blind, come from my mothers father. My thick brown hair comes from my father. My height and skinny build come from my mother’s side of the family where my uncles are both tall and thin. There are other attributes that I have chosen to omit, but it is evident that I am many different patches stitched together by  genetics and the reproductive process. Besides looks, my name comes from many different sources. Matthew is my father’s middle name. Durnin (my middle name) comes from my grandmothers maiden name. Dwyer comes from a long lineage of family history traveling back to Ireland and the great land of Potatoes.

In my case, not only my physical appearance and name are a patchwork, but everything in my daily life revolves around the main goal of creating a unified structure similar to the actual Patchwork Girl. Emotionally, each day brings a different mood. With these moods comes a different desire and a unique set of goals that bring about many different outcomes. Weeks that flow from the highs of good grades and nice weather to the lows of tiredness, boredom and rain make me question who really is Matthew Durnin Dwyer. Do I have one particular identity? Can I be figured out easily or does it take a while to actually know me? Lastly, can I be divided into 5 sections that each lead a reader/viewer down a new road? These are questions I ask myself. At this point in time I don’t have an answer. Some days I think I have it narrowed down the next I fall back into the pit of confusion.

We learned in the Cyborg Manifesto that the body is a social, cultural and historical production and process. Overtime, I have changed both emotionally and physically, altering my patchwork and stitches. Thus, making I am a hybrid and a cyborg of some sorts. It’s easy for me to look at the Patchwork Girl noticing the ways she doesn’t fit in or the ways the monster is shunned in Frankenstein but it is hard for me to do the same thing about myself. When I do step out of my own shoes, I only grow more confused as to who I am or why my actions change based on the group of people I am with. For now, I am a patchwork.

Blog Post 2 – Love in the New World

In volume three of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, we learn that the Monster desires a female counter part that would result in another creation from Victor. The monster claims that this would solve all of his issues. Over the course of the text, the monster began to examine a village and realized the important of human relationships and family. The Frankenstein’s are that “perfect” family the monster wanted to be adopted by. But, as we all know, that was made impossible when Victor ran away after his creation. The monster had been avoided by much of the village purely because of his looks. He was tall, strong, wears yellow eyes, black lips and is physically stitched together.

This blog post was inspired by today’s class activities. I began to wonder how Frankenstein, a monster, and quite frankly a scary creature would handle himself with the technologies of the 21st century. In today’s world, we see a similar trend on a smaller degree. There are online dating sites such as Christian Mingle, Jdate, Farmers Only and others. There are iPhone apps like Tinder, Bumble and other sources like Craigslist. The reason for which people use these data bases vary. Some use them for fun and to procrastinate work or prank their friends. Others use them to find a “hook up” for one night or just to see what would actually happen if they matched with a girl who was hot. Then, there are those who use them to find a girlfriend and potentially a future wife.

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I find my struggling to picture Frankenstein having any “success” formulating a profile that will lead to the creation he has dreamed of. He said, “you must create a female for me, with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being.” When Frankenstein realized he would struggle to find any matches on tinder or he knew his only other option would be a new creation.

Before he destroy the Frankenstein family, the parents were happily married and Victor was all but ready to marry Elizabeth. The monster has realized that he is hopeless and will live the rest of his life depressed, lonely and animosity. On page 169, “I am alone, and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me.” Without a second monstrosity, he will continue to kill, ruining families that he sees as a threat to his health and well-being. The monster brings this to Victor because he is the only one who can make a difference just like people in todays age feel like applications and online databases are the only solutions to their life without a companion. Although there is no real connection between social media and Frankenstein, it is the driving motivation behind this post.