Red/Yellow Card project
Here is everything you ever needed to know about my Red/Yellow Card project!
This project has its roots in Defcon 2011. Defcon, if you’re not aware, is the worlds largest hacker conference. It takes place every summer in Las Vegas. It is a place for hackers of all types to come together for a bit of fun, learning, and partying. Unfortunately it can also be a frustrating place for women, who are often the target of harassment. This can range from mildy squick-worthy comments (one longtime female attendee who is in her fourth year of also presenting was asked last year why she was wearing her husband’s speaker badge) to full on unsolicited groping (something I personally experienced last year). There’s been a lot of interesting discussion about about why these issues are so prevalent. I highly recommend checking out GeekFeminism’s “Issues” category on their wiki, and would suggest the specific entries on tech conferences and harassment as especially relevant to the Defcon discussion. It is also a good time to remind readers that the harassment that women face at Defcon does not exist in a vacuum.
While I don’t think Defcon itself is “broken,” it seemed like there needed to be a better way of engaging with harassment at this specific conference. When a friend of a friend suggested the idea of being able to hand out red and yellow cards to offenders, I kind of jumped on it. I wrote about this idea and the response I’ve gotten in two previous blog posts.
Here are the resulting cards:
They are slightly bigger than a business card and carry the same message on each side. There is also a green “thank you for being respectful” card, which I posted a picture of here. While I originally wanted to make Defcon-specific cards, there was enough interest from non-Defcon folk to persuade me to make somewhat generic cards.
Use of the cards
While you can use these cards however you see fit, I feel like I must point out that these were meant to be a non-confrontational way of engaging with harassment. If you are planning on handing out these cards, I recommend keeping a couple in your pocket or purse. If the opportunity arises to hand one out, simply chose which one you feel is appropriate, pull one out, and hand it to the perpetrator. At this point I recommend calmly walking away. You have said what you need to say and are under no obligation to discuss anything further. Congratulations! You’ve just carded someone!
The text of the cards is licensed CC Zero.
Where can I get these cards?
These cards were available from me, in person at Defcon 2012. For a long time I also distributed them, for free, to anyone who emailed me. After a few months, 7,500 cards printed, and so so so many cards put into the mail, have reached the point where I no longer have enough cards to provide to everyone who is interested in my project. I’m also at the point where the money I initially raised for printing and shipping costs has run out. I have just started the last semester of my undergraduate degree, and I simply do not have the free time to organize fundraising for another printing run (or the time it takes to mail out all the subsequent packages!).