ActivismFeminismTech

Mansplain Monday: When Men Explain Things To You By Citing You

Mansplain Mondays are back! You might remember it as the feature that became especially meta when men began responding to the existence of our Mansplain Monday posts by mansplaining the concept of “mansplaining.” For our new Mansplain Mondays we will be featuring an especially funny example of mansplaining that we’ve come across that week, because if we can’t stop men from condescendingly explaining concepts to us that we already know, we might as well laugh at them for it. If you come across a great example of mansplaining, please send it in via our contact form or join our discord channel and tell us about it there and we might feature it in a future edition of Mansplain Monday.

To kick off our newly revived Mansplain Monday, I wanted to feature a post from my grad school friend Kate Rose, who earlier this year founded the a fashion line called Adversarial Fashion that features clothing that is not only stylish but also includes patterns that trick Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPRs) into reading them as license plates. ALPRs are essentially cameras that exist all over our roadways that record the license plate numbers of any and all cars that drive by. They are used by governments, police, and even private organizations in order to track and surveil populations en masse. When someone wearing clothing from Adversarial Fashion is spotted by an ALPR, the ALPR is essentially fed fake, junk data. Since I work with data regularly, I know quite well how much junk data can really fuck things up for anyone looking for a pattern in that data, which is why I personally own a crop top and jacket from Adversarial Fashion so that I too can help to fuck up mass surveillance systems when I walk around Chicago.

Since doing a presentation at DefCon earlier this year about Adversarial Fashion, Kate has received a ton of press and given many interviews as an expert in tech activism. Of course, this has not stopped men from doing their best to give her lots of very important information about the topic that she definitely doesn’t already know.

@KateRoseBee: I’m positive he meant well, but a guy emailed me at @adversarialwear to say, “I’ve come across a couple of articles that you might be interested in in expanding your designs and offerings.”

The first article is the Guardian article about me. The second cites me as a source.

Yes. This is a thing that actually happened. A guy tried to help her out by emailing her articles that are about her. You know, because she might not know about the things that she talked about in those articles. Sometimes I truly wonder how I or any of my fellow women would ever learn anything without a man telling it to us.

If you’re curious, here is the Guardian article about Kate Rose and Adversarial Fashion, but I assure you that she has already seen it so she really doesn’t need it emailed to her. If you love the idea of Adversarial Fashion and want to make your own designs, she offers a DIY page with all the resources you’ll need to create your own anti-ALPR fashion accessories.

If you come across a funny example of mansplaining or have your own story to share, please send it to us via our Contact Form or tell us about it on our Discord channel and we might feature it in a future Mansplain Monday.

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Jamie Bernstein

Jamie Bernstein is a data, stats, policy and economics nerd who sometimes pretends she is a photographer. She is @uajamie on Twitter and Instagram. If you like my work here at Skepchick & Mad Art Lab, consider sending me a little sumthin' in my TipJar: @uajamie

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