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Des Femmes newsletter - Issue #15

Des Femmes newsletter
Des Femmes newsletter
Hello and welcome to the Des Femmes newsletter! 👋

If you are new here, welcome!! Des Femmes is building a professional network that empowers women to become leaders and innovators in traditionally male-dominated fields. We want to increase the power of women by growing their bank accounts—and their choices. We’re doing that by fostering a community interested in tech, money, and finance. 
Our first print magazine is officially on shelves at Barnes & Noble, Chapters, and Books-A-Million bookstores across North America!! Tell us what you would like to see in future issues by contacting us at partners@desfemmesmagazine.com or reach out on Twitter via @desfemmesmagCheck out some of the recent shoutouts from our community below!
In light of current events and the increasing awareness that reliance on traditional financial structures is not guaranteed, we thought this issue would be a great fit for our friend @lunar_mining’s insightful write up on Proprietary software and the need for more open-source code (ty blockchain!!). Take it away, @lunar_mining!
The best way to understand something is to take it apart. Children know this: when faced with a strange object, the first instinct of an inquisitive child is to disassemble it. Taking things apart and putting them together again is essential to learning. Indeed, it is tantamount to curiosity itself.
In the 1980’s, a young programmer named Richard Stallman noticed a worrying trend in software; users were prohibited from taking things apart. In proprietary source code, the code is hidden from the public and users have no understanding of the software they run. Deeply conscious of the impact that this could have on curiosity and learning, Stallman called for a movement of “free software”: open source code, freely distributed, that anyone could copy, edit, and share.
Stallman realized far before his time the deep connection between proprietary software and user exploitation. Today, the software that is hidden from us has morphed into an architecture of surveillance. Users are plundered for data that is gathered to manipulate said users into buying more products. 
Social media companies, like Instagram, are built to be addictive. Users are lured in and trapped by tricks that abuse human psychology. Interfaces are designed to pacify the user during the data-extraction process. By abstracting user experience from the reality of code, users are disempowered. They become a tool in a machine they do not understand.
Free software is different. It necessitates empowered usership. By critically engaging in software the gap between users and developers grows smaller. When users control the code base, surveillance tech is challenged and rejected.
Proprietary software is user predation. This is true for all of humanity, but it affects women the most. Women spend more time on social media and smartphones. They are the primary market for exploitative surveillance and advertising campaigns. All women, and especially young women, are vulnerable to mental health conditions caused by relentless use of social media.
At the same time, women are the extreme minority in software development. The software that defines our lives has mostly been architected by a tiny demographic of men in Silicon Valley who are obsessed with enslaving and surveilling users for profit.
This immense gender discrepancy is not due to some innate lack of technical curiosity in women nor is it due to a natural capacity for technology from men. The history of technology itself disproves these ideas as do the increasingly high rates of technical women in the Middle East and Asia.
Rather, I believe there is a connection between the low rates of female developers and the high rates of social media usership by women. Social media and the paradigm of Big Tech are hostile to women, harming female curiosity and criticality. At a scale never before imaginable, women are being watched. They are being mocked, judged, and relentlessly quantified, reduced to a number in a proprietary database.
Women must rise up and defy this paradigm. Here are simple steps we can take immediately:
  • Replace AppleStore/ GooglePlay with FDroid, a free software app store.
  • Get a laptop you can take apart and put together again.
  • Run Linux.
I am part of a movement called DarkFi. We are building a new paradigm of technology that emphasizes anonymity and empowered usership instead of surveillance and user control. 
Women are a crucial demographic for us to realize this vision. Because of this, we are committed to engaging with women at all levels of programming and philosophy. I host an online group to empower women in these fields. If you are interested in joining, download a Matrix client like Elements, Weechat, or Gomuks and head to this channel.
In the words of Richard Stallman: “People said I should accept the world. Bullshit! I don’t accept the world.”
Highlights of the month:
🔥 Are you a University student interested in learning more about Bitcoin and open-source development? Are you an Organization interested in molding the young minds of the Web3 space? Check out The Summer of Bitcoin.
🔥 We are currently working on new releases of Des Femmes Swag!! Huge shout out to Megan for creating these awesome looks. If you want to see something that we don’t have yet, feel free to reach out as we are always looking for fresh, new ideas but stay tuned for the upcoming drop, scheduled for spring 2022  👀
For you lucky readers, here is a sneak peek of our Des Femmes Notebook! Our UV-printed notebook is an ideal tool for writing career aspirations, crypto wallet details like your 12-24 word seed phrases, or your plans for world domination. 👑
Community spotlight:
This week we are spotlighting our contributor Jane Sorkin.
The next age of Community is disruptive, innovative, and driven by technology. With almost a decade of experience in technology, Jane is leading the new community era for website building.
Jane started off her early career in film which led to a rabbit hole of careers in design, software development, c-level product, entrepreneurship, and community.
By day she works as the Community Lead at The.com building and cultivating a community of web enthusiasts. At night she’s working on two NFT projects. One called Anxious Spaces, a solo collection, and her other, a collab with music artist Gloria Kim for Crypto Skugs which represents the intersection of her newfound passion for art, her background in technical work, and her ongoing interest in the evolution of the internet.
Des Femmes Classifieds:
Have you connected with our friends at Dirt? Dirt is a daily dispatch about entertainment and digital culture. It is a tasteful guide to the metaverse for people who love their witch NFTs and HBO logins. Sign up for the free newsletter and follow Dirt on Twitter.
Interested in being spotlighted in our Classifieds? Reach out via email or twitter!
If you have any questions about our Des Femmes community, have any tea in need of a shoutout in our highlights, or know someone worthy of a community spotlight, reach out to us via Twitter or Instagram via @desfemmesmag.
 
Until next time, stay curious!
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We’re a community of badass women building wealth, together, thriving at the intersection of tech & finance. We create media & networking experiences.

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