What does Feminism have to do with Digital Humanities

I am a Feminist. In recent years this sentence has struck a chord with people and often can have negative connotations because of people’s views on what exactly being a feminist means. To me, being a feminist means being able to have a control in my own life in every aspects and having the chance to have just as many opportunities as men do. This is something that my mum has instilled in me since a very young age, hearing about certain ways in which she was treated differently because she was a women.

One of her favourite examples of took place 25 years ago after my parents got married and my mother had to get written permission from my father so that she could return to work. Bearing in mind that there was nothing physically wrong with my mother that would stop her going to work or that my Dad, as brilliant as he is, has no medical degree to diagnose a reason why she couldn’t go to work other than that she was now his wife.

This is not the only example I have been told over the years ( my mother was one of three children and was the only girl) but it is one that has stuck out in my mind just because it seems so crazy. Because of this, it isn’t hard to figure out where I got my can-do attitude and my urge to try and try things that are traditionally for boys comes from.

Which is why, I was so interested in the fact that there was a chapter in our Digital Humanities book entitled, “Problems with white feminism: intersectionality and digital humanities” by Jacqueline Wernimont and Elizabeth Losh. In the chapter what is mainly discussed is the lack of diversity in scholars of DH and how the beginning of this stems from the lack of women in Computer Science itself. One such quote says that;

“Carpentry and computer science have pernicious histories of excluding people of color by maintaining gatekeeping with unions and associations and through the definition of skilled labour itself, tendencies that digital humanities seems to be replicating.” 

To me, this is a sad thing as I have always thought that being a DH student meant innovation and breaking boundaries that were established years ago but perhaps I am too much of an optimist for this. However, this just makes me want to get involved in as many conversations about Digital Humanities as possible. And it seems like this is similar to the Feminism movement in a way as people do have misconceptions about it, and it is up to the students of DH to change the narrative. 

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