- mollypriddy: men: looks like we're the worst
women: uh huh
men: we can't be in power
women: uh huh
men: guess all we can do is h… https://t.co/do3ujlQpDr
- zoeydoesnttweet: Someone sitting behind me on the bus just tapped me on the shoulder to say "I think you're beautiful and I love you… https://t.co/wDDNFlD0tG
- Ihnatko: Attendees at any conference: you don’t know how great it is to be a speaker and see positive Tweets about the talk… https://t.co/eeZ5NFnv9s
- SaraJChipps: WATCH CLARA NOT ME SHES AMAZING https://t.co/fn5RQboabH
- HANSwerThePhone: How do you lean on a wall casually without looking like a pile of laundry? Asking for a friend
- bridgetkromhout: So if you're a dude and you give a shit what I think, next time you're asked to be on a panel your answer is: as long as it's not all dudes.
- imerincook: Bring back the subs 😂 https://t.co/KkiiHsBJTA
- danieljpeter: Let others know how awesome they are.
- the_nathanjones: Patima Tantiprasut does her usual cracking job of explaining people in a way that's nice and consumable. https://t.co/xGba2QSGao
- LizlingC: @web_goddess 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍 https://t.co/ZyIjY9RwbF (in reply to web_goddess)
- Ulrikama: my exp: being only woman the atmosphere seems to change a bit but I adjust to fit in. Being 1 of 2 women change is… https://t.co/98xwRM6Hk5
- the_patima: @web_goddess 🙌 loving your tweets, Kris! Thanks for sharing the event with the world. Sounds like an ace day! (in reply to web_goddess)
- scinos: To prove unit test isolation, today I tweaked our suite to run in reverse order: 1500 errors out of 9000 tests https://t.co/woDynvjdnq
- MichelePlayfair: @web_goddess Not yet, but look! I got time! Which gives me hope 😊
(Also, I love Annie Proulx's work) (in reply to web_goddess)
- amazonastyle: @web_goddess Truest thing I’ve read today. (in reply to web_goddess)
- emd3737: 🌈 Still unfair that rights were put up to public vote, but relieved to see a resounding yes vote across Australia for #marriageequality
- kylieminogue: #Australia … 🙌🏻 #MarriageEquality 💗 Love is love, always was love, always will be love.
- kouky: Yes for ❤️ @ Canva https://t.co/YmtBKWhczD
- JohnBarrowman: Congratulations Australia! Now everyone can marry the person they love.
- BevanShields: [email protected] hears the news. Captured by @mearesy https://t.co/cO76EajOlq
- melissa_loh: 🎉 🎉 🎉 https://t.co/i8rvimuydM
- SarahLerner: Cards Against Humanity “purchased a plot of vacant land on the border & retained a law firm specializing in eminent… https://t.co/A3qbArmGP2
- i386: I love you #VoteYES https://t.co/KvFwT7Zih8
- mariekehardy: . @TurnbullMalcolm Congratulations! We will never, ever, ever forgive you! Have a nice day!
- Joabyjojo: Look, Simba. Everything the orange touches can go get fucked https://t.co/fjhi895zmv
- IllyBocean: the highest yes vote by a bigass margin coming from canberra? well NOW who's boring? yeah it's us still but like, uh
- snaxolotl: I’m having a glass of sparkling at 10am, fuck it
- simonwaight: @tathamoddie I should never have been asked my opinion on other people’s basic rights. Happy it’s a ‘yes’, but shou… https://t.co/BbqOKQ1M4o (in reply to tathamoddie)
- webethel: @web_goddess Great tweet, great post—delighted to have found this discussion! Also: YSOLDA?!? Yay!!! (in reply to web_goddess)
- PamelaCayne: @web_goddess Great post (and *great* original tweet!) I loved reading some of the people who responded and hearing… https://t.co/bqNqt9C6i9 (in reply to web_goddess)
- oz_f: Muslims make up 2% of the Australian population. The No vote was nearly 40%. Even if literally every Muslim voted N… https://t.co/TUlWqvLsP5 (in reply to oz_f)
- canva: Today, Australia said YES!!! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 Spread the love with free Pride designs and templates on Canva!… https://t.co/IDE6JT1ZoD
- myrle_krantz: @web_goddess When I saw your tweet, I had already been feeling mad for a couple of days about the likely reasons fo… https://t.co/xwEzhKdP7t (in reply to web_goddess)
- LareneLg: @yow_conf It's so valuable to watch a recording to improve as a speaker 😳 but, gosh, I was way more nervous hitting… https://t.co/RAcB0r5IX7 (in reply to LareneLg)
- salcedony: I just heard the crafts I've loved since childhood described as math and engineering for the first time, and it ble… https://t.co/q275sXBz2v
So as you may have gathered from my “favourite tweets” post of late, I had kind of a weird thing happen. One of my tweets went viral for the first time ever.
Read a comment this morning stating that Maker culture is 80% male and had to laugh. Only if you discount the millions of women sewing, knitting, weaving, and more. But oh right, they're just "crafters." That artificial distinction enrages me. 😡
— Kris Howard 🌈 ❤️ (@web_goddess) November 11, 2017
It all started when a friend from Singapore shared a link on Facebook to this blog post. It’s about a recent controversy where the CEO of Make magazine accused a Chinese maker named Naomi Wu of being “fake.” He endorsed an anonymous and sexist rumour that she was merely a front for a group. He’s since apologised, but the damage was done and Naomi is seeing the fallout amongst sponsors and advertisers. The blog post is an attempt to objectively talk about some of the biases at play in the community that led to this situation.
In the comments — and I know, you should never read comments — I read this one from some MRA activist defending Dougherty and smearing Wu. Part of it reads:
4) From Make’s own numbers, 80% of their audience are men. The “lack of diversity” that is complained about here, which we often hear about in STEM in general, is seen as axiomatic, despite now several decades of gender equal policy. Women do not seem as interested, even if nothing is stopping them from being interested. This is the myopic ideology of diversity uber alles, which ignores factual realities of the kind that got James Damore fired from Google.
No. Just… no. Plenty of women are interested in engineering and fabrication and creating cool stuff, just as plenty of them are interested in technology and programming. They’re just not interested in putting up with the techbro bullshit that goes along with a lot of that. And 80%? In what universe? Only going by the narrowest possible definition of “maker.” What about the millions of women (and non-cis men and non-binary folks) sewing and knitting and embroidering and crocheting and cooking? Why don’t they count too?
I actually attended a panel that Dougherty was on during Maker Faire Singapore back in July. It was a small event just aimed at educators primarily, but they had an open Q&A at the end. I couldn’t resist directing a question at Dougherty. I said that I was personally uncomfortable claiming the term “maker,” because I came from a long line of women crafters. Why did he feel the need to come up with a new name for just doing what they’ve been doing for generations? To me, I said, it felt gendered, a way for men to distance themselves from “girly” pursuits. He smiled politely and answered that the “maker” umbrella was very large, and that knitters and sewers and everyone else I’d mentioned were all official makers too. He tried to spin it as inclusivity. But I wasn’t asking to be admitted to his club; I was trying to get him to admit why he didn’t want to be part of mine. He was very nice though. We connected on LinkedIn afterwards, where I messaged him about my motivations in asking the question. He sent a short response that he appreciated where I wanted to go with the question and wished me luck.
So, anyway. I read that stupid comment on Sunday morning and it made me see red. So I dashed off an annoyed tweet, as I’ve done any number of times, and then got to work on my latest sewing project. The tweet got a couple responses from friends, and I noticed throughout the day that more and more notifications started coming through. By 5pm I’d hit 1000 likes, more than I’d ever gotten before. By the time I went to bed, it had topped 2000 and seemed to be picking up steam. I noticed happily that Ysolda Teague (a big name in the knitting world) had retweeted it:
— Ysolda Teague (@ysolda) November 12, 2017
I woke up Monday morning to 10K+ likes and 440 unread Twitter replies. Some sort of critical mass had been reached and it just kept going and going. Several people thought they were being helpful by tagging Adam Savage, asking him to retweet or send a reply. By this point I’d also had a handful of responses from trolls though, and I started to get worried what would happen if it got more visibility. (Sadly, this is a reality of being a woman on the Internet.)
Dear people who keep trying to get Adam Savage to share my tweet: Thanks, but please stop. I suspect that firehose would tip this over from "fun" to "scary."
— Kris Howard 🌈 ❤️ (@web_goddess) November 12, 2017
By Monday afternoon it was over 20K likes and 5K retweets. Cory Doctorow retweeted it, which is the closest I’ve ever gotten to Boing Boing. I was amused to see Andy Richter had retweeted it too. (Quoth the Snook: “Are you sure it wasn’t one of his brothers?” 😂) Twitter Analytics told me that it had had over 1M impressions (aka views). I had several hundred new followers. A few of my friends who had replied early were getting tagged in heaps of replies as people read down the thread and chimed in. (Sorry Jane and Lindsay!)
Many, many folks helpfully told me about Jacquard looms and how textiles had inspired programming. Yes, I KNOW. I pointed them to the various talks I’ve done that actually cover that. Many other folks expressed their support for including textile arts and traditional crafts under the “maker” umbrella, pointing out that their local makerspace has a sewing machine or proudly proclaiming that “knitters and quilters are makers too.” (Again, not really what I was going for, but I appreciate the sentiment.) A few folks connected the dots to the Make controversy and weighed in on that topic. Mostly it was hundreds of people saying, “Yes, this. Language matters.” in various forms. It turns out that a lot of us suspect the “maker” label only became popular as a way to market to men. My favourite hot takes:
Making is to crafting as action figure is to doll
— stephencass (@stephencass) November 12, 2017
Someone once pointed out that "life hacks" used to be called "household hints" and it changed my life tbh https://t.co/T4NCA08L8y
— Pumpkin Spice Owen (@derspiny) November 13, 2017
There were only a handful of people who responded negatively – I’d say less than 25 overall. One guy thought I was clearly just jealous of men who programmed and were DISRUPTING THE WORLD with their COOL APPS and stuff. (He stopped responding when I pointed out I’d also been working in tech for 20 years.) Others were insistent that making and crafting were different, but none of them agreed on what the difference was. Making involves ENGINEERING and TECH, you see. Or crafting involves LOVE. Or it had something to with a level of craftsmanship. Maybe we should look up the definition from William Morris? And why was I trying to foment some sort of gender war anyway? Couldn’t we just embrace both terms, separate but equal? One guy insisted over and over that we needed both terms because how else would people know to direct their enquiries to him (a maker) or his wife (a crafter)? 🙄
Replies have continued to trickle in over the past two days. One of my favourites came from David New, the son of noted knitter Debbie New:
My mother made me a cellular automaton sweater once. She also knitted a theremin, but that included actual electronics so I guess would qualify her as a Maker anyway. pic.twitter.com/PA7RYOwfeP
— David New (@David__New) November 13, 2017
72 hours after the original post, things seem to finally be getting back to normal. Activity has died down enough that my mentions on Twitter are usable again. I’ve picked up about 800 new followers so far. The tweet has been viewed more than 1.7M times, liked 28K times, received 500 replies, and been retweeted 8500 times. I’ve been invited to appear on a podcast about the topic in a few months. That’s all pretty cool! A lot of folks have sent me lovely comments about my knitting talk videos, and I especially liked when crafters would send me photos of their own projects. The whole thing’s been quite a ride!
- KnudJahnke: @web_goddess My daughter is knitting and krocheting. And she started sewing bags from scrap bike tyres. Really impr… https://t.co/96eqdqevao (in reply to web_goddess)
- NicoleWill100: @web_goddess My darling old dad checks that he has his marbles every morning by reciting the lovely names of the Ma… https://t.co/Qc9ENpQgkr (in reply to web_goddess)
- jewelbots: Our cofounder @SaraJChipps, took some time to write down the things she has learned teaching #JewelbotsBuild events. https://t.co/npPne5kqZS
- sruder: Wow! This is incredible. We can learn a lot from little old grannies 😊 https://t.co/7RPIzPnOAj. (via @web_goddess )
- LickiMivag: @blinkpopshift @web_goddess I have a textiles degree and I also made the horrible mistake of being pregnant in my f… https://t.co/9GrNn38EHM (in reply to blinkpopshift)
- mootpointer: 🔥 🔥 🔥 Now that’s an interesting development. Hopefully the voters of Bennelong will see what an asset @KKeneally wi… https://t.co/yxVUB57B7A
- birdsong4j: Crocheting is fundamentally geometry-based and I will fight about this. "Maker culture" that only includes Silicon… https://t.co/2VdlMn9Xxh
- BennActive: Oh wow. Yeah, I've been really hesitant to refer to my sewing projects as art, and that's clearly the internalized… https://t.co/ITOmHnEvxr
- FakeSamRitchie: @web_goddess My second choice would be “Rainbow Sparkle Glitter Ferry” (in reply to web_goddess)
- tobyhede: Brochet: crochet for men. #maker
- webethel: @web_goddess @stephencass I assumed so; I’m a dollmaker and deal with this all the time so it was just exciting to see someone else say it! (in reply to web_goddess)
- marypcbuk: threading a 4 needle overlocker/serger right first time is an engineering achievement all on its own https://t.co/gvOdzAmbQ7
- elhofferdesign: Heads up y’all. My parents thought my weird love of sewing was a silly hobby in high school. And that my Costume De… https://t.co/lzdY4xUSu3
- GoldenLassoGirl: @BennActive @web_goddess This is also why so little historical art by women exists. Much of it was textile work whi… https://t.co/mQYp9ZIdOB (in reply to BennActive)
- z_rose: Male? You’re a Maker. You’re special and cool and disruptive.
Female? You Do Craft. You’re bland and have no imagi… https://t.co/PZT79KpYB8
- moviemazz: This clip from Big Mouth is basically my favourite vagina-related thing, maybe ever https://t.co/HStmFuaRAd
- meJustinPierce: @anotherclive @web_goddess @RoseRed_Shoes You should try sewing sometime. (in reply to anotherclive)
- polleyg: @web_goddess @auxesis @RoseRed_Shoes ….annnnnnd liked. My job is done here. Move along. Nothing to see. (in reply to web_goddess)
- LiveToAgitate: some of the replies to this also make me think a lot of techbros don't actually know what the word "technology" eve… https://t.co/Qc40kncRIw
- davidbanham: @RoseRed_Shoes @web_goddess This can be solved with crafting!
- ddagostiMLS: Another lesson, folks. Who gets to be the "norm," the baseline, and who are the exceptions, the add-ons. https://t.co/F0sstm12LO
- jessofthebugs: @web_goddess A male audience member suggested no one would take me seriously if they saw me “doing that “ (knitting… https://t.co/BdujBpw9vt (in reply to jessofthebugs)
- zmeetsworld: Reminds me of an article I read about how women's contributions to the economy (stay at home moms, etc) are often n… https://t.co/L8lglo57BS
- MedStylist: GO OFF. This thread is me in any casual conversation. Just make a snide comment or raise your eyebrows about fashio… https://t.co/Y3FO1Wrwc7
- coffee_glitter: @web_goddess It’s…. it’s almost as if men had to make up a new name when they wanted to create stuff, because thi… https://t.co/InsrqkmPIM (in reply to web_goddess)
- SnoozeHamilton: @web_goddess The explanation is usually something like "girls are scared of tools cuz they might get hurt". The clo… https://t.co/jVsf3g27Fv (in reply to SnoozeHamilton)
- dorrismccomics: oh no https://t.co/mLpSHzUoKC
- helsouth: @web_goddess 'if it wasn't for my needle you'd be naked, cold, and bleeding to death'. (in reply to web_goddess)
- PanyaV: This. Plus, the outdated, sexist notion that people like me don't work with wood [I do], or people like my husband… https://t.co/4OLX6KlKIF
- tinytempest: This is why I have all the side-eye for Maker Culture.
- Gaohmee: Hey kiddos, Melbourne is beautiful and sunny today and I get to work on cool shit.
What makes you humm with happine… https://t.co/SdljZ1cIeF
- nobleknits2: @messypixels @JoaCHIP @web_goddess Woolhacker. Totally putting that in when I'm applying to talk about knitting at EdTech conferences (in reply to messypixels)
- JenKatWrites: And yet: watching engineers try to figure out how to thread a sewing machine (especially the bobbin) is the fuckin… https://t.co/cpxrTuynJ4
- AKBrip: I have SO.MUCH.RAGE about this mentality. https://t.co/dfNo7SwINj
- smittyhalibut: @RedParrots @FourRedShoes @web_goddess It’s so true! I hear her talking about all the tools and techniques she uses… https://t.co/JjKbpKoYf8 (in reply to RedParrots)
- GayathriKWrites: Probably why as much as I want to get into Robotics, I haven't. I'm so tired of trying to climb over that fucking a… https://t.co/4z4o2Ne2x8
- burnunit: So after hundreds of years of crafting as a folk art and economic empowerment movement for people, some bougie cis… https://t.co/CpO9q6FWcn
- bcmac09: @web_goddess I’m a quilter and this is some bullshit. (in reply to web_goddess)
- kingkoorbloh: @RoseRed_Shoes @Hellchick @web_goddess It’s how men feel ok about doing “girl” things. It’s like how Coke Zero is D… https://t.co/kOneuYqQUJ (in reply to RoseRed_Shoes)
- thetaoofken: BAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA "MAKER CULTURE" because fragile male egos have to always be so god damned SERIOUS and BETTER okay… https://t.co/2fIMnuUCmF
- imaginaryerika: @arivero @timbee @web_goddess @lauraehall I remember one guy so disappointed that I used scissors to cut my felt as… https://t.co/svm9XRIyKA (in reply to arivero)
- opendna: @chrisbeach @web_goddess @simonw It's *more* of a movement, with radical political manifestations around the world.… https://t.co/YKEFGixTJu (in reply to chrisbeach)
- vanessapamela: read this & literally thought "maker culture" meant like, some conservative religious group & was like "oh that see… https://t.co/uy51Nfq4ua
- SFF_Writer_Dan: @web_goddess Describing a crafter as a 'maker' at all seems bizarre to me. Silicon Valley 'inventing' things that h… https://t.co/Y68LMXyA0l (in reply to web_goddess)
- GuidingBreeze: I have done some basic coding
I have done some basic electronics (pcb creation)
I have built a shed from scratch
- gfixler: This is a really fun and information-filled talk. https://t.co/D6HQ8Hn2qv
- StuartBecktell: I’d say this goes into a larger role where as children we are told women are crafters and men are builders. The gen… https://t.co/c4cSPt3CxN
- takashioomoto: Maker culture is the "lip balm for men" of self-made craft. https://t.co/3PNaAL83m6
- lauraehall: @timbee @web_goddess I agree! It’s a cultural issue. As with many industries, like cooking and programming, when wo… https://t.co/DViWExXalU (in reply to timbee)
- Ronniethesilly: I once explained that we already have customized self made clothes, it's called sewing your own stuff. https://t.co/VoACM3aoj7
- JoaCHIP: @web_goddess Maybe my grandma wasn't just "making" me a pair of socks. She must've been a cottonbender and a woolhacker! (in reply to web_goddess)
- franklyrosalind: I learned how to build shit from my mom. When I was in first grace she built me a volcano costume out of hula hoops… https://t.co/tOEXsxDpsr
- ysolda: 😡😡😡 https://t.co/Zma7L41Oen
- pedantka: Pretty sure that "maker" culture self-identifies that way to avoid the feminisation of the word "craft".
This is… https://t.co/SW3nVHaEjY
- mippy: @web_goddess I wonder if it's like cooking, which is a thing that housewives do, and being a chef, which is a high… https://t.co/sCAuAwagCm (in reply to web_goddess)
- LuzDLuna: OH THE FURY 😠 https://t.co/w69F57Wlpw
- itsathought2: If a man sews a costume for cosplay – he's a maker. If a woman does – she is crafty. Language matters. It's how… https://t.co/Qc4OfDpKw2
- LiaSae: This.
But personally? I don’t want in, because Ravelry culture is just so much friendlier than maker culture.
- rahelab: @web_goddess Language matters, especially when used to create cultural distinctions and hierarchies. (in reply to web_goddess)
- cyberFluke: @CatbirbPony @web_goddess @DrNemski @auxesis Honestly, I'd prefer the term crafter. You "make" something because yo… https://t.co/b4GZekYVlv (in reply to CatbirbPony)
- chrisbentzel: Very true. Just because safety goggles aren't involved doesn't mean that there isn't a lot of sophistication and cr… https://t.co/yni6kmDIfh
- transprogrammer: I’m sorry but the sacrifices have to come from somewhere https://t.co/xeAi6qsVty
- messypixels: @JoaCHIP @web_goddess Totally going to update some of my online bios to say "woolhacker" 🙏😹😹😹 (in reply to JoaCHIP)
- nemshilov: Played with this old steam engine control room the other day. It is probably the best metaphor i have for my webpac… https://t.co/xi8oFIM5hw
- Akki14: but if a guy does those things he's Making. https://t.co/DypJlrM9Bc
- laura53246: The expression “maker” always irritated me. https://t.co/h0HQADLbIk
- BostonAnnemarie: This could not be more true. Women have been true makers for generations but we think of them as "crafters." Men ar… https://t.co/dDH35kvT9G