Much work has been done to challenge the common conception of hacker as criminal, morphing the characterization to reflect an ethos of invention, investigation, and activism. Despite hacking’s expanding definition, an association with hard-mastery and masculinity has remained tacit, fostering a culture that has often been foreboding, belittling, or outright threatening to those attempting to participate in its communities, both online and off. As Sophie Toupin states in her writing on feminist hackerspaces, “despite the ideal of openness at the heart of this model, groups such as women, queers, people of color, etc., have remained either largely underrepresented or completely absent.”
This website represents my inquiry into hacking and gender. How can hacking be made as inclusive in practice as it is in theory? And how can feminism and hacker ethos intersect to reach these ends, ensuring the inclusion of all those who don’t fit the prototypical hacker mold?
In seeking answers, I had the privilege to interview four people whom I value and respect. Each is a unique fusion of scholar, activist, feminist, and hacker. By addressing the ambiguities of both feminism and hacking, the collective wisdom from these interviews informs and invites deeper thought and further discussion around broader concepts of gender, technology, and social organization.
Interviews were conducted in person in Montreal, via Skype, and through emailed questions and responses. With permission from the participants, they have been edited to ensure clarity and conciseness. My deep gratitude goes to each of the interviewees who graciously lent their time, experience, and knowledge to this project.
Cathleen Evans is a graduate of the Communications and Cultural Studies program at Concordia University in Montreal. This work was done as part of an independent study in 2015.