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December 14, 2005

Oakland's Techbridge program introduces girls to things techie

From the Oakland Tribune:

In Erin Zane's science classroom at Bret Harte Middle School after classes Tuesday, 18 girls made lists of fun uses for everyday items.

A paper clip could be used as a bending toy, one group concluded. A penny could be tossed or hidden. A Post-It note could be folded into a miniature paper airplane.

The point of the exercise was to get the girls to think differently about common objects and to learn a bit about play. It will help them as they develop new toys, acting as mechanical engineers for the after-school Techbridge program sponsored by Chabot Space & Science Center.

Techbridge was developed by Chabot in 2000 to get girls interested in science. They are introduced to scientific concepts through dialogue and hands-on activities in girls-only classrooms.

--> "Girls show off technical skills; Techbridge program introduces students to scientific concepts through a hands-on approach", Laura Casey, Oakland Tribune, December 14, 2005

December 9, 2005

Women, as depicted in video games

A story on Slashdot today points to an article (which is currently "Slashdotted") about the rather cartoony "va-va-voom" way that women's bodies are rendered in video games.

The GamerGirl team over at Gamergod.com has an interesting article delving into a male driven industry. This time the subject of discussion is the sometimes overzealous portrayal of women in games." A well-considered piece, with thoughtful references to the works of Camille Paglia and Naomi Wolf. From the article: "He also highlights several games that, instead of focusing on the female form in its big-breasted glory, showcase women who are intelligent, strong, and powerful. He insists, 'The protagonists highlighted above illustrate that plenty of excitement can be provided by female leads who will, in turn, bring in female gamers - not to speak of richer gameplay options. Additionally, as McIntosh says, most women gamers are "confident enough not to feel threatened" by sexist imagery, merely finding it annoying and disappointing.'"

In the ensuing discussion, one Slashdotter was moved to make this inspiring statement:

"I'd rather live in a society where female video game characters are portrayed the way horny teen males wold [sic] have them rather than a society where character designs are dictated to you in the name of equality."

Normally, Womeninit tries not to dabble in sarcasm, but is this time moved to enquire whether there's a third option on offer...