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Kate Kotler

Femina Potens: the Godess speaks, mah Mommie, Dr. Nancy Padak

MA%20MOMMIE%2C%20aka%20The%20Mommaship_DM.jpgThe holidays always bring out the mushy side of me. I love Christmas and spending time with my family. I definitely feel like this mushy, holiday loving side of me is something which was heavily influenced by my Mom.

As I’ve mentioned in columns previous, my Mom has had an overwhelming influence my development as a person: shaping everything in my life from my love of the holidays, to my political ideologies, to my perceptions of what it means to be a strong woman.

The concept for this column, in fact, was inspired by her.

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Posted by on December 20, 2007 11:58 PM in Columnists| Feminism| Kate Kotler
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Kate Kotler

Femina Potens: these aren’t your mother’s feminist panties!

Skull%20Panties.JPGI never thought that I would begin questioning modern feminism while shopping for panties at a Target in Kent, Ohio

I’m sure that at this point you’re wondering what it was that was so controversial and contained within a plastic panty wrapper so as to cause such a hullabaloo. Let me tell you:

Skull panties.

You read that correctly, skull panties: violet, lavender and sage pastel, SKULL PANTIES.

The discovery of these panties (tucked in amidst several pairs of normal panties - solid colors, stripes and polka-dots) coincided with an interesting conversation I was having at the dining room table with my Mother and her friend, Dr. Autumn Tooms. We were discussing gender issues within academia and Dr. Tooms brought up an article which one of her students had brought into her gender studies class for discussion a couple of years previous. The article* stated that at a major state university in Ohio, a very high percentage of incoming freshman women attributed the reason they were attending the university in question was because they wanted “to find a husband.”

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Kate Kotler

Femina Potens: what to do if YOUR content gets ganked and exploited (Part 3 of 3)

Spam%20Not%20Just%20For%20Breakfast%20Anymore.JPGPart 3: There has been a lot of criticism of how I have chosen to handle myself following the link-gank of my geek-erotica story on 10 October. Some of which has been valid, some of which has been excessive.

In trying to be open and transparent about the experience, I have opened the floodgates further to individuals who have seen my reaction as an opportunity to “cruelly lampoon” me; and, there have been still other individuals who have not understood that the things the “cruel lampooners” said about me were untrue.

For me, that’s sucked quite a bit. As I mentioned last week: I did lose two job opportunities due to decision by someone, somewhere to permanently associate my name with the words “child pornography” on a Wiki in an attempt to “cruelly lampoon” me.

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Femina Potens: sexual expression as art & sexual exploitation = two different things (Part 2 of 3)

Betty.JPGPart 2:One of my biggest problems with western civilization is the consistent demonizing of sex across history.

Let me rephrase that: one of my biggest problems with western civilization is the demonizing of WOMEN who like sex across history.

If you read this column last week, you know that I wrote an erotic story; and, that because of my fear of being penalized in my immediate society for the expression of my healthy sexual fantasy in the written form I published it under the pseudonym "*RetroBangs73."

Upon reflection: it was like kind of the whole “Madonna/Whore” (and, no I don’t mean the pop singer) paradigm in my head. Because I work with children I’m not allowed to have sexual thoughts and fantasies – let alone express those thoughts and fantasies in a public forum for the world to see. That makes me a – gasp – pornographer and unfit to work with children.

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She's Geeky: (un)conference building feminist voices in the tech community

Heather%20Gold.JPGWhen sitting next to Subvert’s Heather Gold at lunch on the first day of She’s Geeky, she noted that the fact that we were scheduled to eat four times on the first day was one of the first things which differentiated the (un)conference from all the other tech conferences out there:

“And, you know we’re not going to be getting extra large t-shirts which we can never wear again,” said Gold. “Look around there’s cupcakes and babies and not one embroidered denim shirt.”

The differences with the (un)conference didn’t stop there: the nurturing, communal feeling which permeated every session and every conversation throughout the entire day was something which was not present at any tech conference I’d attended before. There was a genuine interest amongst all attendees in meeting each other, finding out how/why the person sitting next to them was at the event. Through the course of the day I met programmers, bloggers, company executives, students, photographers, mavens, CEOs, gamers and a multitude of other women who all identified themselves as “geek.” The fact that so many people from so many different sectors of industry could come together and learn from each other was impressive. It was totally cool to be surrounded by such diversity, yet know there was a commonality of purpose.

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Special Report: on my way to the She’s Geeky conference

At%20She%27s%20Geeky%21%21.jpgReading the book She’s Such a Geek: Women Write About Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff (ed: Anders & Newitz) dramatically changed the course of my life.

Prior to my best friend and his wife giving me a copy of this book of essays, I had felt isolated within my social group… I was fine with whom I was – a literature, writing, alt-indie music, techie, gadget, ren fair attending, sci-fi and Star Wars loving geek – I kind of was of the opinion that I liked what I liked and surrounded myself with people who had similar interests as I did.

The problem being that those were predominantly boys.

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Femina Potens: how a splog exploited this geeky girl (Part 1 of 3)

Me%20with%20glasses.jpgPart 1: Imagine for a moment that you are a student and aspiring writer; and, one day you are sitting in your neighborhood coffee shop enjoying a large coffee and free WiFi. You are diligently working, editing your midterm thesis titled, “The Impact of New Media on Traditional Journalistic Outlets;” or, you are writing a poem about cat poop and beer intended to make your loving, supportive, awesome roommate (who is also an over worked, under paid student) laugh until the latter of those substances comes out her nose. Or, perhaps you are crafting your weekly column for the kick-ass feminist blog you write for. Then all of the sudden an IM window pops open on your screen and online friend sends you the following message:

“I just Googled the pseudonym you use to write geek erotica under and one of your stories came up re-titled as ‘12 year old girls get [expletive deleted]: Geek Girls Need Love, Too.’”

Read about what happened next to DollyMix's Kate Kotler after the jump...

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Femina Potens: Cera Byer follows the path less traveled

Cera%20Dancing.JPGCera Byer discovered at a young age that the traditional life which our society prescribes for young people didn’t fit who she was becoming as a woman. At 14 years old, she took an incredible leap of faith and started a life of her own, emancipating from her parents. For a time she struggled to balance work, school and the normal challenges of adolescence, which were intensified by her choice to seek the life which was right for her. Shortly after that she was fortunate to find a surrogate mother and friend who, with no questions asked, took her into her family; and, helped to guide her to make intelligent choices as to her schooling (done at home,) her development as a woman and the adult life she was seeking.

Since that time, Cera has put herself through school and begun down the path to a life fulfilled creating art; and, in the process has discovered that she has fortitude of character, life experiences and intense desire needed to mentor other young women in the same way she was mentored as a teen.

Read Kate’s interview with Cera after the jump…

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Femina Potens: Lauren “Indiana” Jones, fearless woman and a committed volunteer

Indie%20in%20SF.JPGLauren “Indiana” Jones is a femina potens of the highest quality. One of my closest friends for nearly six years, she likes to joke about the fact that the first time I met her that I didn’t like her.

This was the spring of 2002: I had run away from being a grown-up for a bit; and, I was working at the front desk of the India House, an international backpacker’s hostel in New Orleans, Louisiana. At some point Lauren won me over: she told me later “I just decided you needed to be my friend, Caps.”

Lauren calls me “Caps” or “Capshaw;” (because, when we met she said I looked like actress Kate Capshaw in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.) I gave her the nickname of “Indiana” or “Indie” in return.

Read Kate “Caps” Kotler’s interview with Lauren “Indie” Jones after the jump…

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Femina Potens: 1,000 paper cranes - part two of our interview with Kati Kim

Kati%20Kim%20at%20JK%20Memorial_Feb%2017%2007.JPG Part two of Kate Kotler's exclusive interview with Kati Kim...

On 17 February, 2007, Kati, her daughters, and James’ family and friends gathered in Golden Gate Park to remember and celebrate his life. There were thousands of people who were touched by the heroism of James Kim, touched by Kati’s amazing resilience and character following her rescue, and touched with the idea of wanting Penelope and Sabine to grow up understanding how moved the world had been by their father’s dedication to his family. It was the heroism which took his life which joined them together to remember this truly remarkable man.

It was an uncharacteristically warm, sunny February day in Golden Gate Park that featured friends speaking about what James had meant to them, a children’s craft table, fire dancers, Native American drummers, opera singers, DJs, and the famous HoopGirl. One thousand colorful paper cranes fluttering in the breeze. The day epitomized the joyful way that James and Kati lived their lives, with families sitting on blankets showing their love and people danced to their own internal rhythms. The celebration continued on past sundown.

Kati remarked to a friend that she thought James was out in the crowd that day, dancing his heart out.

Read part two of Kate Kotler’s exclusive interview with Kati Kim after the jump:

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