The publishing revolution will be feminist

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It was Bec, a fellow feminist bicycle revolutionary who I met last March in DC (and who later wrote the first essay in the new Religion issue of Taking the Lane), who insisted that I sign up for the Tech Ladymafia, a listserve of women in tech.

But I’m not in tech, I protested. She disagreed. The more I thought about it, the more I realized she was right. I “program” in InDesign and Pantone colors rather than in Ruby and Javascript, but it’s still all about keying in a lot of technical gobbledygook and then waiting with bated breath to see if the final product resembles the conception. I write literal code, of the HTML variety, nearly every day. I project manage the creation of these portable, paper app-like information products; as I see them to market, I market them using social media, crowdfunding sites, and Web 2.0.

Most of all, I’m in the industry of promoting the bicycle, the best (not to be hyperbolic) technology ever invented. It’s open source, crowd sourced, accessible to everyone, can be cobbled together out of discarded junk, and has the potential to reprogram our bodies, minds, cultures, governments, and daily lives. I could go on… or you could just read my books…this is, in a sense, all I ever write about.

So it was extra exciting on numerous levels when my friend and frequent Taking the Lane contributor Amelia Greenhall told me about a then-secret project she was working on, a radical tech journal focused on diversity, and asked me to write about feminist zine publishing. That essay came out earlier this week in extremely good company in the second online issue of Model View Culture.

My essay won’t be in their first quarterly print edition, which combines new writing and art with essays from the first online issue. But they asked me to, er, “program” the book layout for the print journal, which has given me the chance to at least skim the content in it—and it’s freaking good. Getting to write about feminist publishing for a feminist publication and then to support its production is good stuff. It’s tremendously exciting to get that perspective shift, where instead of forging blindly ahead I can see that I’m part of a movement, building a piece of something that fits into something bigger and cooler and with huge transformative potential.

Being part of the women in tech listserve has been a bit transformative, as well. One goal of the network is to shift the gendered power dynamic in the tech industry, which has some strong parallels with that of the bike industry. I’m learning a lot about how to do my work on a number of levels; and it’s a powerful thing to know that there are strangers out there who have your back, even when you feel like you’re the only one. In my experience, creating media can serve a similar function, and that is one goal I have for everything I put out there—letting readers know they aren’t misunderstanding, overreacting, or alone.

The moral of this story is: Check out Model View Culture’s online articles, subscribe to their print quarterly, and get inspired. Trust me, you’ll like this. Regardless of whether or not you see yourself as being “in tech” (but in a sense, isn’t everyone who reads things on a computer screen), if you’re into paradigm shifts this will absolutely be your jam.