Free Culture from a Feminist Perspective

During the last year I spent almost all of my time learning how to use a video camera, final cut pro, and reading/writing a philosophical paper that is now the major part of my Division III. I was pretty far removed from the free software/free culture movement in my Div III haze. But I’m living at the acetarium again and I just got elected to the board of students for free culture along with Danny Piccirillo. I’m super excited to be on the board and to work with Danny again. We were co-signers of Anti-Sexists and Feminists United Collective (ASFUC) at Hampshire college together. Danny and I really think about free software and free culture in a lot of the same ways, and have a lot of the same things we want to see accomplished within the free software/free culture space we’re now working in. A primary principle that we follow is the idea that proprietary software is not preferable to free software. That patenting and licensing as it is currently done within most interactions with software and (potential) free culture works also needs to be re-thought, and revised with the principles of free software (as defined by the FSF) in mind. But furthermore, something that I think really links Danny and I together, is that we both view issues of free culture, licensing, patenting, propriety software, privacy on the digital frontier, etc… as issues of social justice and as a place that is ripe for (already) perpetuating (and sometimes creating new forms of) oppression and at the same time subverting it, in some cases. I’m excited to work with someone who does free software/free culture stuff that wants to look at issues of licensing, patenting, copyright, source code, etc… from a feminist perspective. When it comes to the technology that “we” (I don’t even know how to define we here) it’s important to ask questions like how it’s being used, why it’s being used, and how it’s being created and to think about answering them from the standpoint of remembering a very recent (and arguably ongoing) history of colonialization, and ongoing sexism, racism, classism, and ableism. What do these technologies we use mean in relation to oppression.

I’m super excited to work on thinking about these questions for ways to prevent, change, and subvert violence in how technology is currently used/created.


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