Geek Feminism Wiki

Burnout happens when someone gets exhausted with a certain activity, community, etc., and can't handle it any more. When people are burnt out, they may drop out of doing whatever it was, reduce their involvement, change focus, etc. Or, on many occasions, stay involved but become increasingly unproductive and cynical.

In Science Fiction Fandom, people who are burnt out sometimes Gafiate (Get Away From It All) for a while. These breaks from fandom are sufficiently well known and understood to have their own terminology.

Women and burnout[]

In addition to the reasons anyone might burn out (eg. working too hard, information overload, time management, arguments over how to get stuff done), women are subject to additional stresses just for being a minority within geek culture.

For example:


  • In 2009, after attending the conference at which the EMACS virgins joke incident occurred, Sulamita Garcia posted a blog post, Burning out?, in which she discussed her own burnout. One of the examples she gives of incidents prompting her burnout has to do with being dismissed as a woman in a not-100%-technical role, and the other has to do with poor socialisation among geeks. She concludes with, "And I was wondering why I’m feeling more and more like burning out..."
  • Elizabeth Krumbach posted here saying she was burnt out and stepping back from discussing and fighting against sexism in the Open Source Software community:
"I’m tired of being told I’m “too sensitive” or have “no sense of humor” because I spoke up after something I saw made me feel uncomfortable, excluded, and nudged me closer to quitting F/OSS entirely. [...] I’m sick of all of it, I’m tired of fighting."