12 Awesomely Feminist Tech Inventions, From Anti-Harassment Apps To Games About Tampons
The relationship between technology and feminism is a tricky one. If a piece of tech is used for women's rights, does that make it innately feminist — or just a useful tool? But one thing's for sure: give a feminist some technological know-how, and chances are she'll create something amazing.
This list runs the gamut of technological creations, from the very first feminist tech to anti-harassment apps, feminist games, and documentaries. Feminist tech is in the news thanks to SPARK's new app that leads you to places where women have made history, but if the latest trends are anything to go by, this is only the starting point: feminist tech is going to be the next big technological trend. Are you ready?
NotBuyingIt is a creation of the Miss Representation Project that aims to target misogynist messages in ads and the media. NotBuyingIt is an offshoot of the project’s Twitter campaigns, which create anger about stupid anti-feminist representation around us.
The app is about taking that campaign into your own hands, sourcing and tracking your own examples of sexist nonsense in the media, and making campaigns to stop it. We reckon it’s a pretty great idea.
This political app, which allows Americans to lobby their local representatives about issues they believe in, is one that can be a great feminist tool. It allows you to track women’s rights as an issue that matters to you, updates you on new laws, and gives you a fast-track to contacting the relevant politician to protest or cheer them on. Feminism + democracy + tech = marriage made in heaven.
The RadFem Archive
One of the great technological boons for feminism? The ability to make books and information completely open-access, free and easy. The Vindication of The Rights Of Women, one of the landmark feminist texts, is available for free on Kindle, but it’s archives like the RadFem Archive that really use this tech to its fullest.
RadFem has put open-access versions of feminist authors like Andrea Dworkin and Audre Lorde up for download as PDFs and EPubs, or generic e-book files. Welcome to the feminist library, updated for the 21st century.
Image: RadFem Archive.
If you’ve got a loudmouth in your group of mates who insists that women actually get just as much airtime in conversations in the workplace/television/basically anywhere, this timing app will shut them up.
It’s pretty simple — just time and tap whenever a male or female person starts talking, and display the results afterward. But it’s often a huge wake-up call.
Women Web Portal, Cambodia
The Open Institute in Cambodia has created Women Web Portal, an online special resource for laws and development issues about women’s rights, for Cambodian women who can’t access the info any other way.
It helps women blog, trade information about equality and issues in their area, and become advocates for better Cambodian laws. It has mailing lists and forums — which seem pretty normal to us, but are relatively new in Cambodia, where only six percent of the population are regular Internet users.
Image: Women Web Portal
Women And Girls App
This is a pretty basic informational app for the global feminist who likes to keep on top of progress in other countries. How many women in Afghanistan are in education? How much of the female population of Zimbabwe is employed? This app lets you check — and monitor as things get better (or worse).
Image: Women And Girls.
Feminist-Hacked Google Glass
A few people have taken up the existing technology of Google Glass (RIP) and produced a feminist bonanza from it. Feminist artist Molly Crabapple performed Glass Gaze in 2014, where she wore a hacked live-streaming Google Glass while sketching the porn actress Stoya (also a feminist). And the Italian Association for Violence Against Women used it for a powerful anti-domestic violence ad.
Image: A Woman’s Day Through Glass.
This one’s had a lot of publicity: it’s one of the first GPS-based feminist anti-harassment apps. It allows you to track where you’ve seen or experienced harassment, note incidences of it in your area, and tell your full story.
Some users are complaining that they don’t feel safe snapping photos or telling their story instead of paying attention to potentially threatening behavior. But this is a major step in the right direction.
Feminism and video games are a fraught issue, to say the least. (Hi, GamerGate.) But some young programmers are making their own games to bring out a feminist message — like Tampon Run.
It’s an old-school 8 bit game online that uses tampons as a weapon, and is pretty simple —but that’s OK considering it was coded by teenagers. Sexism? Yeah, tech’s got no time for that.
Image: Tampon Run.
Circle Of 6 App
In a world where 1 in 4 women on American college campuses are sexually assaulted, Circle Of 6 is one of the tracking apps designed to help women get home safely and alert friends (the “circle of 6”) if they need help.
Image: Circle Of 6.
Fearless: An Interactive Documentary
Kickstarter has been a bit of a haven for feminist tech ideas. One that’s got the potential to change the game is Fearless, an interactive documentary about the experience of being a woman on India’s public transport system.
The tech creation, made by UC Berkley graduate Avni Nijhawan, is a choose-your-own-adventure where you navigate through a metro station, encounter real people and harassers, and make choices about confrontation. That’s tech making a very real difference.
SPARK Women On The Map
Ever wandered past a plaque on a wall commemorating some woman you’ve never heard of, and wondered, “What did she do?” Now there’s an app for that. SPARK teamed up with Google Maps to produce what’s basically a map of feminist achievements in history: Women On The Map, an app which vibrates whenever you reach a place where a woman’s done something particularly groundbreaking.
It’s not just U.S.-based, either: the locations number over 100, and are in 28 countries around the world. Plus, over 60 percent of the women whose stories are being told — many of whom you won’t find in any mainstream history book — are women of color. Anybody up for a round-the-world history trip?