Geek Feminism Wiki

At Technical conferences, there are often presentations which contain suggestive or pornographic content, almost always featuring women. This is an example of a sexualized environment which can be unwelcoming to women.

It's not just women who are made uncomfortable, either. Child attendees and any accompanying adults may find this unwelcome (or frightening, depending on the content) too, and men often also for various reasons do not want to view sexual material. Anyone attending the event in a work context — geek technical conferences often have attendees who are only geeks on work time — will be unprepared for material that wouldn't be welcome when described in their work environment.


  • Jan Krissler's presentation on biohacking, cropped porno gratuituously illustrating how hi-res photographs can be used to bypass retina scans.[1]
  • Patrick Wardle (Synack) presentation, valid tech security terms sexualized with "relevant" images of women's body parts or sexual acts.


Discussion of the general issue of sexualized presentations (discussion of specific incidents should be added to the corresponding page)



This Porny Presentation Bingo Card has many examples of excuses

Common justifications for sexualised content in presentations include:

When is sexual material appropriate?[]

Some talks are about sexual or related topics, and in this case sexual material is appropriate. Some geek examples might include:

  • a talk about sexual activities at, eg, a geeky sex expo
  • a talk about censorship at which the speaker wants to show some examples of material that is liable to be censored

Some women-oriented or feminist examples might include:

  • talks about menstruation, contraception, reproductive politics, gender transitions or childbirth

However, such presentations should be made to a consenting audience. This means:

  • make the expectation of sexual or confronting material clear to attendees in advance (this may be clear from the nature of the event, but if in doubt, explicit statements are better).
  • make it clear that audience members may freely leave a talk or activity at any time and for any reason, and that they will not be called upon to explain or justify themselves.
  • place emphasis on being inclusive of different sexual orientations and preferences.
  • take extra care to emphasize what content or behaviour is not welcome (examples might include repeated sexual approaches, other harassment, hate speech)
  • if the entire event is sexual in nature, have a designated "chill out" space for people who don't want to participate in sexual activities or discussions at any given moment.

In these environments, speakers will still wish to consider issues of Body image and Othering in choosing their content and imagery: for example, does it assume that the audience is all male and heterosexual? Does it show a range of body types, or only stereotypically attractive slender young able-bodied white folk?

Notes for conference organizers[]

See Women-friendly events