“Feminist Workspace” is a project for my Gender and Technology class. It is representative of my frustrations of being a woman in the workplace, especially in a male-dominated, technological field. Since I’ve been applying for the role of “Software Engineer” at companies upon completing my undergraduate degree, I’ve been noticing a trend in gendered employment. The women in the companies have roles like “HR Rep,” “Customer Management,” and “Marketing Sales Rep.” We may be giving them fancier names, but it seems to still be more secretarial work than innovative practice, even in start-up, innovative, tech companies. I want to show the ridiculousness of the gendered stereotypes in a filmic environment.
To be honest, my passion about feminism, and especially feminism in the workplace, comes from my experience with rape/sexual assault. It has taken me years to come to terms with what happened to me (in fact, I’m still coming to terms with it), and in the process I have become obsessed with confronting stereotypes of both men and women that build upon and reinforce standards that make assault “normal.” My project is not only a political statement on feminism in the workplace, but it is also a way for me to come to terms with and take control of what’s happened to me. To solve the issues with sexual assault, we must be able to fix the gendered social norms we’ve created. And one of the most notorious spaces for sexual assault and gender imbalances is in the professional sphere.
The head graphic is a WordCloud (made by http://www.wordclouds.com/) from all of my blog posts, papers, and digitized notes from my Gender and Technology class. As you can see, it’s just as much of an issue for men as it is for women.
My film, which this site extends upon, has two parts.
The first is titled, “Women just haven’t done much,” and the sound bites I used are examples of stereotypes that follow women into their jobs, parenting, friendships, and life. The harsh, effect-heavy editing represents the clips’ falsities, and the black and white is my way of trying to push these thoughts into the past.
The second part is titled, “Or maybe we just haven’t been paying attention.” I chose not to edit the clips of the women in order to show the natural beauty of their performances. It uses sound clips that focus on empowerment, instead of putting women down. I also use a spoken word poem titled “for women who are difficult to love” by Warsan Shire as the frame because it is about uplifting women to stand on their own instead of defining themselves by the men around them. This second part uplifts me and empowers me to be who I am. It directly contradicts the first part in just about every way, except for the similar raw footage.