In April 2010, Node.se, a Drupal consultancy, released a card game based on Drupal. They promoted it at DrupalCon in San Francisco with an advertisement that read:
- A perfect game for geeks to connect to non-geeks
This slogan was written on an arrow connecting two images: one of a man in a green tshirt, flexing his bicep, and the other of a woman in a pink bikini, holding a riding crop(?).
Liz Henry posted on the Geek Feminism blog asking, "Which one of these people is the non-geek?" Presumably those viewing the advertisement were meant to see themselves as the tshirt-attired male geek, and the woman as the non-geek.
Node.se's game is an example of a Sexualized environment in that it showed a woman in a skimpy clothing and holding a prop with sexual connotations as part of the advertising used at a tech conference, as well as Othering.
Response/apology from NodeOne
- On the Geek Feminism Blog, Liz Henry rethorically asked “Which one of these people is the ‘non-geek’?”. In the discussion that follows, she and Lampdevil make a very lucid argument about how the woman is used as a commodity in this particular case.
- Of course this was not our intent, nor was it to show disrespect to women or offend anyone. The image was there just to contrast the geek. But, as Liz Henry wrote, “the base of the joke here is that geeks are men and that women are a commodity”. The only excuse I have is that we were naïve about these issues. But, as Lampdevil stated, “Ignorance of how an action could be interpreted doesn’t make the action itself harmless.” I cannot agree more, and that is the reason for the apology.
- This incident shows with painful clarity the need to bring this issue into light. Liz Henry’s blog and the Timeline of incidents were definitely a wakeup call for me. Hopefully, it will make even more Drupallers think about these matters.
- As a direct consequence of this incident, I will already today initiate work on creating a Gender Equality Plan for NodeOne.