During the last weekend I've been attending @subscribe_de, a German podcaster conference. It's been a pleasure to meet all these wonderful people, get to know the faces of all the voices I had been listening to for years and get to know all the fancy new people and podcasts I hadn't even noticed yet. If you're by any means capable of listening to German content, I would strongly recommend checking out their Youtube channel. Especially the videos of subscribe 7 should be interesting for you, as soon as they are available.
Why am I writing this article? Well, even though the conference was great and deserves an article for itself, I was not going to write a lot about it. What made me write this article is a talk by @nahlinse.
Besides the information that she is using ravelry to promote her podcast (As far as I understood, Revelry is a fancy platform about all kinds of projects that deal with textiles of any kind), there were some points that struck me.
First: No matter what you achieve in life (Monika is indeed a Physicist <3), people tend to see you as the person they want to see you. Right now Monika produces a podcast called fiber thermometer (I love those puns), concerned with all kinds of fibre including "masculine" topics like Vikings and building bridges.
She was trying to announce the feed to her podcast to several podcast directories but was ignored several times and didn't even get an answer when she asked why she was not being approved.
She felt justifiably judged when she read comments about podcast concerned with knitting, weaving and so on. Those comments were trying to put her in the corner of a woman dutifully doing her housework or whatever. And again there are multiple points for me to deliver:
Most important to me: As a white hetero guy with interests like science, art, music and technology studying at a German university and intelligent friends I hardly ever get to see this chauvinist tendencies that are still part of our society. I remember those days when I was talking to my exgirlfriend about it because she had been exposed to similar thing when she went to Gamescom and people started asking her whether she was really playing video games. They were astonished when she would defeat them in shooters or other non casual games.
So guys, wake up! Women do whatever they want to do. When they ride motorcycles, like my girlfriend did, it's fine. And when they want to discuss all sorts of fibre, it's fine too. Every topic is equally interesting. Just because your tiny little mind is not capable of finding something interesting in it, doesn't mean others don't. What I love about this point in time is that basically anyone can do anything. They can be one of many genders, men can knit and women can drive racing cars or hunt or do whatever else they want to do. Don't take it away from them, because you will take away what is most precious to me: freedom. (BTW: When I was younger I learned how to crochet, because I wanted to - I just quit because I was not talented. I learned how to ride horses, because I wanted to. Now I spend half of my day singing, writing, talking and meditating, because I want to.)
The other thing that struck me was that people in the audience, whom's opinions I respect asked Monika to not take it so seriously. I totally get where this is coming from because I used to give and get the same advice. Growing up in groups of largely males it's important to learn to laugh about everyone including yourself because jokes will hit everyone. And if you are not able to laugh about it, you will get hit by more and more jokes and that's why you need to learn to ignore and laugh about it.
Nonetheless I totally get why Monika has her issues with that. I can laugh about jokes about my very person. But there is a small group of people who get to make those jokes. And sometimes even jokes from my closest friends hurt, because I am very sensitive. When I get hurt by a friend I can tell them about my feelings and they can make it better, but with strangers on the internet you often times can't do that. There is also the missing smile or tone of voice to give an ironic statement it's signs. What I am trying to say: Taking things not to seriously is sometimes not that easy. I am sure that I will get hostile comments with growing exposure too. I will be prepared for it but just because all of us now that every part of society has it's assholes, it does not mean that we should not fight back. All of us should fight for nice communications on the internet and tell people politely that they are full of shit.
I am a guy and I think that women have to decide how they would want themselves and society to be. I never thought of myself as a feminist, but I like to stick to the following quote:
Freedom only for the members of the government, only for the members of the Party — though they are quite numerous — is no freedom at all. Freedom is always the freedom of dissenters. - Rosa Lumxemburg
So if you're trying to take away anyone's freedom I will get pissed by you. And if you're hurting others because you can't think ahead how you hurt them with your statements, I will get pissed too. It doesn't hurt to be nice. So be nice. Thank you for reading.