Response to Feminist Phone Intervention

This article centers on the creation and outcome of the Feminist Phone Intervention. The creator and her friend set this up in June 2014. It is a phone number that you can give to someone that asks for your number so that you don’t need to give them your real one. When that person calls the number, they will get a response quotation from feminist write bell hooks. The creator hoped that this technology would allow women to block harassment from strangers. Because women are still threatened when they reject advances, this allows them to satisfy the harasser without giving out their real phone number. And the men are educated by the different quotations.

The audience that this piece is trying to reach is mainly for women of all ages and races. They are trying to raise awareness for this technology and how it can help them in an uncomfortable situation that they might not have known how to handle. It mainly tries to show how the Feminist Phone Intervention has helped women face harassment and how it contributed to feminism.

The main idea is that harassment and sexism are real issues and by creating this technology for women, it could save lives and raise awareness. This phone line will help women being harassed and educate men on feminism. By bringing all women together on this, it will create comradeship among them, which has been the goal all along.

I think the goal the creator was trying to achieve by this was to educate women on how they can better protect themselves and to let the world know that solidarity can be achieved. Also to achieve a sense of solidarity among all women, especially because of problems of race within feminism. By mentioning Hollaback’s video and how harassment is radicalized, it reinforces how women need to come together despite race issues for a common goal. Race influences harassment, but it is important to note that harassment does occur in many forms, and it needs to be noticed.

I really enjoyed this piece. As a woman, it is reassuring to know that there is such a technology out there to help protect us. I had no idea of this before, and it is definitely something I will use if I am ever put into that type of situation. I appreciated how the author wanted to get the technology out there to different countries and how it had to be adaptable to their cultures. I have been in a situation similar before, but luckily I made up an excuse and walked away quickly. If I was ever asked for my number, I would be afraid of the repercussions for not giving it away. This technology is definitely useful and brings to light all of the issues that our society has largely put under wraps. It is also interesting how she stays anonymous as a feminist tactic to make sure the problem as a whole is being addressed. This was a great article and I learned a lot from it.

The only question I would have for the creator is if she thinks that men will actually listen to the quotes, or just be more angered by them. Yes, the technology does great things in terms of feminism and combating harassment, but will it actually bring about change in men?


Hacking the Label

The article “Hacking the Label” was an interview with two hacktivists of different generations: Carmin Karasic and Micha Cárdenas, conducted by Leonie Maria Tanczer. It was published on Ada, a feminist journal associated with the University of Oregon. As a result, this article will mostly reach feminists who are seeking or have obtained higher education.

This article didn’t have a thesis, as it was a transcription of a conversation between the author and two hactivists. They each discussed their opinions on several topics related to hacking, equality, and political activism.

The conversation began by discussing how the interviewees were involved in Electronic Disturbance Theater, a group that hosts virtual sit-ins and protests used to slow down chosen websites as a method of civil disobedience. Cárdenas also participated in the creation of the Transborder Immigrant Tool, which was used to help immigrants find water stations placed in the desert.

The transition the turned towards the meaning and purpose of hacking. Cárdenas said she had always founding hacking innately political. For her, changing someone else’s code was political because it meant taking the power away from someone else. Karasic thought that was interesting, as she had felt that hacking in itself was neutral until it was applied to something particular.

Karasic said that she found hacking liberating in that she was no longer being judged for her gender and race. In the IT world, she had often experienced sexism and racism. However, she found that prejudice was, for the most part, less evident in the hactivism world.

Cárdenas found some resistance to her projects based on her gender identity and sexual orientation. Additionally, she found that some hackers believed hacking was about advancing technology, not making political change. Both Cárdenas and Karasic agreed that most of the resistance came from governments who found their actions as threatening as terrorist threats. Cárdenas found her work was most slowed down when her actions were being investigated by the government.

The next focus of the conversation was the purpose of hacktivism. Karasic believed that hacktivism was useful because it was another platform for people to express their political views and attempt to enact change. Cárdenas stated that hacktivism had the most effect when used to interfere with infrastructure, affecting the networking systems of certain companies. Additionally, Cárdenas liked how, with hacktivism, people could create a space for themselves out of nothing, instead of protesting at existing spaces in the physical world.

Cárdenas and Karasic also discussed the nature of feminism and hacking. Karasic found herself reluctant to identify as a feminist because of the history of racism and discrimination in feminist movements. Instead, she views her work as a creation for all people. Cárdenas is interested in creating for a new type of feminism, focused on transgender women. She explains that this is necessary because many previous feminist works have expressed fear of transgender people.

Cárdenas and Karasic then discuss how social categories such as race and gender play into hacktivism. Cárdenas is regretful that the internet focuses more on identity than it did twenty years ago, when a person could go online completely anonymously. They then discuss how black transgender women face more violence than transgender women of other races. This leads into the next point about hacker groups focused on women and people of color. Karasic discusses that it can be difficult to come up with examples of these groups because most hacker groups try to avoid gathering a lot of attention. The article concludes with Cárdenas talking about how people of color don’t need to be “included” in hacktivism and technology. Instead, they must break away from the white ideas of technology and create in a way that is unique to them.

The purpose of the article to start a discussion on hactivism, the image of hackers, and the racial and gender inequalities of hackers/hactivists. I appreciated the discussion on how feminism has changed throughout its history and must work to become more inclusive towards transgender women and women of color. I also found it very interesting that Karasic said her work was not about accomplishing feminist goals, she was trying to better the world for all people.

What I struggle to understand is morality of hacktivism. If you disagree with someone, does that give you the right to tear down their creations? While this is not necessarily what Karasic and Cárdenas were doing, they did discuss other hackers who felt that the work they did was not destructive enough. I think the concept of the “sit-in” hacktivism is a good balance of peacefully expressing displeasure and frustration.

Response to “Welcome to the Queer Rebellion”

The article starts off by describing and showing works of art created by various queer artists. I believe that starting the article off with strong pieces of art really impacts the reader, and gets his or her mind working before a point is made by the authors. The idea of a ‘queer rebellion’ is engraved more into the readers mind and portrayed more seriously through the structure of this article. This leads to the expected audience, which consists of the individuals who view queers as outsiders. The authors, Boyce and Chan, want to compile the voices of queer individuals from different races and create a community outside of the mainstream. As the authors put it, a “…third world.”

The authors want to explain the idea behind the Queer Rebellion, which is a space where queers can express themselves however they’d like. It is a world where they accept that they are outsiders, but where they come together to be inspired and revere their differences. They have artwork that fights racism and other pieces that tell the stories of the struggles that queer individuals go through because of their race.

I enjoyed the article, because it portrays the empowerment that the Queer Rebellion gives to queer individuals. I think queer colored people are put on the bottom of the chain and need to have a voice speak up for them. This Queer Rebellion is that voice. Art is one of the best ways to express opinions and stories, so the compilation of artwork created by different queer individuals was genius. Through personal experience of what society talks about and focuses on, I understand the invisibility of queer individuals that the article expresses. I feel like the issues queers go through aren’t highlighted in society. One question I have is, how will the artwork impact society as a whole? Do the queer rebels just want queers to be well known, or do they just want a world that they can all come together and feel welcome?

Reading response to “Welcome to the Queer Rebellion”

The audience for this piece is for the queer community. The authors use the word “we” a lot because they are including the readers who are queer. Especially at the end, the authors say, “We are outsiders-and we are stronger when we create together”. The authors are inviting the queer community to stick together and work together in the queer rebellion. This article was published in ada Gender, New Media & Technology which has is a medium for women to publish articles that support a new media or technology. This article specifically addresses a new media of the queer rebellion where the queer community would create art together.

The main idea of this text is that queers are still outsiders in the world and should therefore bond together and create a company for a “space of liberation”. The authors write that people still cannot accept that queer people exist. So, they argue that the queer community needs to bond together and support each other. The authors also mention that through queerness and art, they can tackle the racial divide and other acts of racism as violence. The text was created to promote the queer rebellion.

The goal for this text is to inform and invite the queer community to join the queer rebellion. The article starts off by introducing many artworks already created by the queer rebellion. These examples help to demonstrate the capability of the queer rebellion and to inspire the readers to join them. The authors want to unite all those who are queer and create a “queer third world liberation zone”.

I appreciated this article because of it illustrated the power of unity and support in a queer community. It is hard for any community to be close and unified, but this article promoted its unity, and through art the authors believe that it is possible to unite against hate. I enjoyed the beginning of the article with the narrative and pictures of artworks already done in the queer rebellion. I like how the artwork were very different and touched on many different topics. The queer rebellion supports all its members which I appreciate. As a connection to my personal experience, I like to explore art. I have come across many artworks that are controversial and many public organizations are not allowed to show the artwork. As a person who enjoys artwork, I would want a free space for the artist community to share and collaborate on their pieces without the hate.

One question that I have is whether we should separate the queer artist community with the artist community. It goes back to the same problem in twitter we saw. The division between the black twitter community and the white twitter community somewhat promotes or relays the message that the division between black and white is fine. The same goes for the queer community and the non-queer artists. If we start to distinguish and divide the queer and non-queer artist community, does this relay the message the queer community are outsiders and will continue to be outsiders?

Response to “Race and Labor, Unplugged”

“Race and Labor, Unplugged: Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer,” by Dale Hudson discusses the social issues addressed in Sleep Dealer by focusing on one of the director’s earlier and related works, Why Cybraceros? The piece was published on Flow, an online journal of television and media studies, and is likely geared towards readers who are engaged with social issues and look to media and pop culture to gain a better understanding of them. It explains how Sleep Dealer is a continuation of the themes represented in Rivera’s Why Cybraceros?, which itself satirized a film that advocated for migrant labor called Why Braceros? Hudson argues that both Sleep Dealer and Why Cybraceros? undercut dominant attitudes about migrant labor by depicting an exaggerated future where remote labor makes it possible for Americans to have “all the labor without the worker.” Hudson likely hoped to give readers a better understanding of the issues addressed in Sleep Dealer by raising awareness for the context surrounding Rivera’s films.

I appreciated how Hudson used Rivera’s earlier film Why Cybraceros? to give context to Sleep Dealer. Why Cybraceros? responded to attitudes about migrant labor presented in films like Why Braceros? that emphasized the economic benefits of migrant labor and attempted to erase or ignore race from the discussion about it. Why Braceros? applauds policies that allowed braceros to do the “tough, dirty, or unpleasant” labor while only appearing “in the right place at the right time.” Hudson’s inclusion of Rivera’s earlier work, the film Why Braceros?, and information about the braceros program helped me connect our world to the one presented in Sleep Dealer.

Reading “Race and Labor, Unplugged” reminded me of criticisms of dystopian novels and media like this one:

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I think that Hudson touches on the lack of people of color in dystopian media at the end of the article when he compares Sleep Dealer to other movies like The Matrix.

A question that I still have after reading this article is about gender in Sleep Dealer. I think Hudson discussed gender in the film some when talking about the comedias rancheras, but I wasn’t sure about his argument. What is Rivera saying about gender in Sleep Dealer?

Response to “Race and Labor Unplugged”

This is an article written in 2011 by Dale Hudson of NYU Abu Dhabi and posted on the website, a television and movie journalism website.  The intended audience for this piece is people that have seen the movie “Sleep Dealer” and wish to further their understanding of the racial comments that are being made by the producers of the film.  This article also delves into the works “Why Braceros?”, a domestically made propaganda video from 1959 by the California Growers and “Why Cybraceros?”, a satirical critique of “Why Braceros?” by Alex Rivera in 1997.

The main idea that this text is expressing relates to the portraying the struggles of Mexican migrant workers illegally crossing the border into the US through comparison to the “nodes” that allow migrant workers to continue with their labor.  Hudson goes through various aspects of the movie and compares them to the modern day relations with the US border control and the problems that modern braceros experience.  Specifically the “sleep dealers” themselves, which are factories where digital labor is outsourced to the US, are being compared to modern migrant workers that cross the border to find employment in manual labor.  Having nodes implanted becomes the equivalent of traveling to the US in this comparison.  By associations the coyotes which usually transport people across the border are replaced by “coyoteks” that are tech savvy smugglers which actually perform the operation of implanting nodes into the workers illegally.  Once the workers have the nodes implanted they are able to begin working at the sleep dealers and make money for their family.

The goal that Hudson had in writing this article was to inform the reader of the cultural and racial statements that Rivera was making in “Sleep Dealer”.  I believe that  it was also Hudson’s intention to make sure that the persuasive intention of Rivera in convincing viewers of his views on immigration and migrant workers would be passed on to the readers of this article.

I appreciated how Hudson was very thorough in his analysis of the movie and how he also drew in other examples of Rivera’s work in order to provide context for his ideas and comments developed in the movie.  I appreciated the explanation of symbols with context that I otherwise did not pick up on and wouldn’t have understood.  I can connect this to my own experience because I watched the movie and made many of the same conclusions that Hudson did.  A question that I am left with after reading this article is: how does race affect the opportunities that individuals experience in seeking employment and growth in the real world?

Deep End response

Deep end is a science fiction short story about a prison ship in the far future.  The prisoners are uploaded onto the ship’s system and then downloaded into bodies.  The bodies, however, are of the whites who the prisoners tried to rebel against, not the bodies of the prisoners.  The story addresses race and gender as mental constructs, since bodies are now exchangeable.  The author is trying to show what people are without their bodies to define their identities, or possibly how bodies try to define identities.

I really liked the science fiction aspect of this story.  By using space age technology, the author created a new world, but the isolation of deep space and the feeling of being trapped in a system or by your own body are universal.  I also liked the ending, the hope that the new place, the change will mean something better, but the knowledge that your body, your experiences are still there; it gave a sense of optimism mixed with dread that people feel when a change happens in their lives, as well as when they are being blasted from orbit in a water-filled metal coffin.  The most obvious question after reading this story is: “What happens next?” but I don’t think it’s a very good one.  This chapter of the characters’ lives has ended, what happens next is a different story.  The question I would ask is about the past, not the future.  The story leaves me wondering how the characters got there.  What happened to Doe to make her so distrustful?  Why does Thad not want a body?  Is that simply anger at wearing someone else’s or does he have a reason to want to abandon reality?

Sleep Dealer Response

The movie, Sleep Dealer, is a foreign film, but the language spoken in the movie is Spanish. This makes me believe that the specific audience for this movie is the Latino population. However, it was released in multiple countries including the U.S., France, Japan, and other countries. The main audience was definitely for all nationalities, but the country of origin of this film is the United States. Since the film takes place in the United States/Mexican border, it makes sense that the film targeted the Latino population in both countries especially since it brought up the issue of immigration in the United States. Since Sleep Dealer is a Sci-Fi movie, it was also geared toward those with an interest in Sci-Fi. A futuristic dystopian Mexico is depicted in the movie where there is new technological developments such as the nodes. Typically, Sci-Fi is an audience-specific genre that targets a unique audience.

The main idea that the director, Alex Rivera, wanted to get across is identity and connections or rather disconnections due to technology. Memo the main character is having an identity crisis in his home town. He doesn’t know who he is there on the Santa Ana farm and wants to get away from Santa Ana. After his father is killed, he struggles with the realization that his satellite was the reason his father was killed. He doesn’t know what to do and how to face his family, so he tries to reinvent himself in Tijuana where his dreams are supposed to come true from everything he has heard from his satellite. Again he has another crisis in his identity when the nodes/job doesn’t give him the satisfaction that he though, instead it drains his energy. The only happiness is the women in his life, Luz Martinez. Even that falls apart when Memo figures out that Luz had an ulterior motive to befriending him. Another main idea that Rivera tries to get across is the barriers due to the advancements of technology. We see how the technology causes a disconnection between people and the company and migrant workers. The first instance was the gate/fence that Memo and his father have to pay to get access to water. They talk to a robot that has a train machine gun and camera pointed at them. When they increased the price of the water, Memo’s father could not reason and present his disagreements. Another example is the wall between the border of Mexico and the United States. In this future Mexico, there is a wall put up that doesn’t allow anybody from Mexico to cross over without a good reason. The only way for people in Mexico to “get jobs in America” is to work in node factories, where they control robots doing their actual jobs in America. Again, technology has resulted in a disconnect between two countries and people. However, the truNode memory/story allowed for the Rudy Ramirez to find Memo in Tijuana. It allowed two strangers to connect which was a small benefit in the capitalism of technology in the future. Also, Rudy uses the technology against the water capitalist who built the dam in Santa Ana. He blows a hole in the dam, so everybody has free and equal access to water. At the end, Memo says that he can never return to who he was, maybe because of the nodes and barriers of technology, but he can create a future for himself. The technology may open opportunities for connectivity, but promotes a barrier and border for communication.

The goal for this movie is create a Sci-Fi movie that depicted a futuristic world that is connected by technology, but also divided by borders. Alex Rivera was inspired by the dream of a ‘Global Village’ that is on the Internet. Technology is very useful for connections, but a side effect is decreased communication. This world is like “perfect” world that people are striving for now, but it has gone horribly wrong. Rivera wanted to add real day imminent problems like the drone strikes, outsourcing of jobs, global water crisis and immigrations issues into the movie. Rivera said on his website, “In any science fiction film, you always have at least two ‘stars’—the main character of the film, and the futuristic world itself”. Rivera wanted the main character to actually be an outsider because many sci-fi films do not have main characters that are truly “outsiders”. Since this was Alex Rivera’s first film, I don’t think he had an exact goal in mind other to bring a sci-fi movie into place that addressed many issues of the barriers of technology and real life issues.

At first, I was very confused with the concept of the movie. I didn’t know what I was going into, so I had no idea what to expect. The flashes of the man connected into his nodes with the blue contacts were what mainly confused me. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy the plot or storyline because I thought too many paths were trying to connect together, but just made it confusing. One thing I enjoyed was the use of present day issues that were incorporated into a sci-fi world. However, I like how it shows how if we don’t address these present day issues now, the movie shows what could be our future. Although, I don’t have many experiences that I can relate, but I understand the desire to escape your present day expectation. As a child of parents with high expectations for their child, I understand the desire to have your own passions.

A question: How did the machines behind the fence, border wall work? Was there any physical person working behind the machines, because if the rules were violated then the violator could be gunned down? If this occurred, who decided whether they were a threat and needed to be killed?


Response to “Deep End”

The main audience of “Deep End” appears to be transgender science fiction readers, although people who are either transgender or science fiction readers can probably equally enjoy the story.  Since Lightspeed and So Long Been Dreaming are science fiction and fantasy magazines, it was probably targeted towards science fiction fans while also addressing themes of transgender identity.

Once you manage to piece together the setting, there seem to be a couple theses.  First, a person’s body is a tied to that person’s identity; when one inhabits a body, they either value and protect it, or they should be allowed to find a “new” body that is desired.  A second thesis is that even as technology progresses and creates so many possibilities, social norms can limit the uses and applications of that technology.

I can only guess about the goal of the story, but I think Shawl created this story to have readers question their own society’s norms about gender, especially transgender, identity.  In a world where minds can be downloaded into any body, those in charge simply don’t allow transgender downloads; the AI in charge of the system has no justification other than they’re not allowed to do it.  The readers can also look at different perspectives within the story.  Some completely avoid downloads into physical bodies to stay in “freespace,” while others put up with their bodies and go to a new planet for a new life.  Shawl probably wants readers to reflect on what they themselves might do.

I really like the universe that Shawl built.  It has familiar science fiction themes like the divide between cyberspace and the real world, being inside someone else’s body, and being part of a colony on another planet, yet it’s lived through different eyes.  The story barely gives enough context clues to build the world, a lot of unfamiliar terms are thrown at the reader, and the dialogue can be strange or illogical, but once you put everything together it’s very interesting.

I’ve read some works concerning the body, and something I’ve learned is that a body is a text.  Features of and actions done by a body reflect different values in culture, and a change in the body is often shown to be a change in character.  Last year, I wrote a think piece on the character Zero from Mega Man Zero 3 and the significance of a robot’s body in that video game and series.  It’s an interesting topic to look at, especially in science fiction.

In terms of questions, I’m interested in finding out what the children of the clones will be like.  I want to see what, if any, differences will be between the clone’s children and the original bodies’ children.  How will identity play out there?