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Grandmother Spiderwoman Weaves 2.0

I have eternal gratitude to my friend Mark for his wise response to my eager inquiry:

“I'd like to have a computer; what can I find on a student budget?”

“Oh that's easy, just build one yourself!” I took a long deep breath. It wasn't the answer I expected. Yet, I am adventurous and determined...

So I mustered up courage – tiny electronic bits and wires (and connecting them) were not in my comfort zone - and wed it to my deep curiosity and there began my journey. With the help of Mark and the super helpful tech (a woman, to boot!) at the parts store, I labored over and metaphorically birthed my very own 486.

And while I could be considered an “exception” - as a brown woman in a white male-dominated society - to the access I had to education that afforded me the opportunity to have experiences with computers and new technology, I was very aware that this didn't happen with every historically marginalized student. Even within the context of the University and higher education, equity was not the norm and access to resources and technology was a privilege for some and an answered prayer for others.

And so from this place I share my perspective, owning my relationship to the academy which I'm a part of in some ways and an outsider in others. The innovation of social media, virtual learning, information sharing, to name a few treasures of Web 2.0, has offered an opportunity to bridge the equity gaps that prevail, even in higher learning institutions.

For example, blogging and engaging in passionate and sometimes heated conversations with an avatar and a username (because often, that is all the information we might have about a person) does not render a conscious or unconscious preconception about someone based on their physical appearance. We can only derive information from their words, their sentiments through language. Somehow, our hearts are the only part of us that is really “seen” by the other people with whom we are in communication. Yes, we insert egos and personalities, yet ultimately, we share our personal stories, our heartfelt opinions and experiences. We are actually coming together in dialogue, however virtual it may seem. And through dialogue we connect; and through connection we ask questions of each other and consider solutions that effectively transform our world. We transform the power-over into overpowering love through technology. One web 2.0 strand at a time.

Like Spiderwoman's web, we connect to what can nourish us, open our hearts, heal us. And this is our Women's Work 2.0 – banding together in technological bliss, firing up our keyboards (hearths), grinding our corn (editing editing editing!), and passing down language and sharing oral traditions across continents, dreaming for our communities (Facebook & Youtube!).

A beautiful web we weave.


HARMONY's picture


You are awesome!

Building your first computer yourself! Call it how you want but you are a great woman.

Trust your HOPES, not your fears... Harmony

Ina Hume's picture


Wow- I am also amazed that your first journey into the techno world involved you building your own computer. That is so cool and also very inspiring. I like your story as it shows the importance of women doing things in male dominated arenas. This is the way to equality. To remind ourselves that we should not limit ourselves by others' beliefs.
Well done.

Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

Dear BD, Your journey into

Dear BD,

Your journey into technology is very inspiring--you must be curious by nature to have embarked into a strange forest of wires and computer chips! Your writing is also very poetic, which I love. I would like to hear your thoughts on what you think Web 2.0 can do for the global women's empowerment movement?

Kind regards,


"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

bd's picture

The Web (2.0) Connects Us

Hi Rachael,

In the his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell speaks to the power of the Connector - the person who brings people together from all walks of life and finds the thread that weaves people's paths together. I swear he was talking about me. Okay, me and millions of others like me who thrive on the power of how Web 2.0 sweetens the connecting deal.

The primary and most important way, in my opinion, that Web 2.0 will empower (or has empowered) the global women's movement is by providing opportunities for connection. Literally and figuratively. Maybe I just eluded to the obvious in the above post, but connecting to each other is where it all begins. From there we raise awareness (as Auma did in Kenya and beyond). We create and build activated communities (or at least that is my hope with my Facebook community as I gather racial justice workers and educators around a collective virtual table to dialog about solutions to take back to their very real communities). We can hit the ground running with Web 2.0; we can master our own voices; procure our own solutions; create our OWN table and invite each other to it as well as find our place at a new global table of healers, activists, journalists, and other people who are dedicated to changing the face of the world we live in.

For example, with Web 2.0, women of color can publish their very own works without the power struggle and resistance from white cultural supremacy that still dominates the print and publishing world. Web 2.0 allows us to be ourselves, use our own voices, create our own content, tell a story as we see it, and fully participate in the digital revolution. That said, it doesn't mean that racism doesn't exist within the context of Web 2.0, rather therein lies the possibility to design a platform to discuss, dialog, and discover solutions to healing that racism.

(I think I'm suffering from 'fish in the water and not adequately describing the ocean'. I'm a part of Web 2.0 each and every day on some level, so it's challenging (yet fun!) to describe what I see every day. Ahh, so goes reporting!) :)

Did I provide some clarity in my response?

Thank you for taking the time!


Never doubt in the dark what you saw in the light.

Never doubt in the dark what you saw in the light.

Tina's picture

Weaving your own web

Well wow! How incredible of you to build your own computer. I agree with the other posters here in that your writing is poetic, magnetic even and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for adding your thoughts on how you feel web 2.0 influences the global women's empowerment movement and good luck with your continuing application!

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