Note — Apr 11, 2021

Why a More Feminist Internet Would Be Better for Everyone

Seen in → No.168

Source → technologyreview.com/2021/04/01/1020478/fem...

Charlotte Jee takes us through some of the feminist work being done for a better internet, and around the benefits for all that such concepts and values would bring to online spaces. To shorten the point horribly: hire, promote, speak to, and follow the opinion of people (women here but also basically everyone who gets ignored in the maps above, btw) who get ignored or harmed by products and services and make sure to address their experiences and fears.

It’s a great shame for society and an even greater one for Silicon Valley that such equality and respect is not already the norm and that feminists have to rally together and force the issue into the limelight and through policy. This should be universal common sense by now. It clearly isn’t.

Feminism is obviously about equality between men and women, but in essence it is about power—who gets to wield it, and who gets exploited. Building a feminist internet, then, is in part about redistributing that power away from Big Tech and into the hands of individuals—especially women, who have historically had less of a say. […]

The principles [of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)] state that a feminist internet would be less hierarchical. More cooperative. More democratic. More consensual. More customizable and suited to individual needs, rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all model. […]

Widespread harassment would not be seen as a tolerable price women have to pay, but as an unacceptable sign of failure. People would be more aware of their data rights as individuals, and more willing to take collective action against tech companies that abused those rights. They’d be able to port their data easily from one company to another or revoke access to it altogether.