FLOSS Chick of the Month

Seeing the Mac vs. PC Linux spoofs (thanks Novell!), I believe some people were wondering why Linux was a girl. I saw some comments at various avenues, and I guess Reverand Ted got some flak too:

The general response to us using a woman to play Linux has been positive, and most people say that we did it respectfully and tastefully. (Nevertheless, there have been many disturbingly sexist–sometimes even misogynistic–comments. Whoever writes these awful comments, please get some dignity.)

Its amusing, how people react to this. Let’s put it this way: “chick’s sell”. Look at the Mac Chick of the Month. Does anyone remember Ellen Feiss? Go to any large event that is PC related (E3, PC Fair, etc.) and you’ll notice a lot of ladies, in tight-fitting costumes, trying to flog their products. It works.

I bookmarked, in del.icio.us, the Mac Chick link, and wrote: “Mac Chick of the Month – maybe we need OSS chick of the month? Then again, the LinuxChix might jump all over me for even suggesting that…”

Yes, I actually think its a good idea for a “FLOSS Chick of the Month”. Like cigarette, and liquor companies, we need to sell a lifestyle around FLOSS. We’ve already got a desktop that pretty much anyone can use, now we just need to convert it over. Hardcore gamers are the only one’s that might feel alienated on a Linux desktop, but maybe the “girl power” will win them over :-)

P/S: I’m willing to photograph, and even loan video equipment, though my (FOSS or non-FOSS) video-editing skills leave a lot to be desired.

(I’ll appreciate constructive comments, especially from the women, but if you’re going to flame me, I’m going to laugh out loud, and then paste it online. Oh wait, the comments are already online.)

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  1. wahlau says:

    i think i should feature my wife as linux chick, since she uses ubuntu :) haha

    anyway, back to the topic, i thought we had once girls with linux related picture/logo somewhere on their bodies? wereN’t those chicks? :)

    i personally won’t like FLOSS chicks to be those taking cloths off. I want to see chicks who use FLOSS, not just posing with any distro or DVDs. Then a nice short interview will really help. Should i look for some here in Germany? let me know how i can help.

  2. mypapit says:

    booth chicks are particularly popular during PCfair, and they do boost the popularity and the sales of a particular participant

  3. Mary says:

    Great idea!

    Unless you ever want to sell to an audience that isn’t composed entirely of (a) heterosexual men and (b) other people who never draw attention to their failure to be heterosexual men. If there are people who are open about that failure in the audience though… less great idea.

  4. Donna says:

    Hey Colin,

    I am a big fan of your work as an advocate of Open Source, and as a contributing developer to important projects…

    I’ve been mulling over your post, and trying to articulate why I have a problem with what you’ve said.

    Mary summed it up well. Chicks sell – to heterosexual men.

    I once responded to a suggestion that we needed ‘booth babes’ at an expo by saying,
    “hey – I’m happy to be on the stand, but I’m not wearing lycra”

    my other response was,
    “yeah sure, so long as we can have semi-naked booth boys… oh hang on, maybe not, we’re meant to be promoting freedom and diversity too.”

    FLOSS is great, but I don’t really think it has anything to do with gender or sexuality. I think it has more to do with freedom, equity and diversity.

    For example, I find ubuntu’s imagery pretty compelling. They’ve used groups of smiling people, connected by holding hands, and diverse in gender and ethnicity.

    Sex sells certain products to certain demographics…


  5. Mary says:

    While I’m here, to elaborate on Donna’s and my points. Marketing sends messages to buy things or get involved in things… but it also sends messages about intended demographics. Broadly speaking, lots of bright pink says “we want to sell this to fairly young girls, we expect that this product is for fairly young girls”. Likewise, attractive women who are mainly eye candy says “we want to sell this to heterosexual men, we expect that this product is for heterosexual men.”

    I don’t think any increased sales volume is worth that message.

  6. Anonymous says:

    *obligatory off-topic comment regarding lesbians*

  7. byte says:

    OK, this got a lot of “late” responses…

    @wahlau: yes, your wife, your friends, etc. they’re all “foss girls” and might as well be profiled, I think. I never suggested for people to dress up sexily or take their clothes off – you don’t see those in cigarette or liquor ads either…

    @mary: re: audience. I think most people are happy to use FOSS at home, save for the hetrosexual males that are hooked on games :P

    @donna: I think it’d be a great idea if you were a booth babe. And yes, lets skip the lycra. Dress tastefully, like you normally are, and that in itself will sell. If you’re after semi-naked booth boys, that can also be useful, I don’t see why not… (I was never suggesting semi-naked booth girls :P)

    Lets all remember, I only provided an observation of what E3 and so on had. Tight fitting clothes on ladies, no big deal. Good looking clothes on regular OSS users that aren’t super models I think will also work just as well

    @mary again: I don’t think we’re talking about bright pink attire. Ever been to the car festivals? Or big PC ones?

    In fact, a good example is the recent Windows WOW campaign. Seen the folk that they’ve got standing around at train stations and shopping malls? Microsoft clearly doesn’t think there’s much to anything wrong with such “advertisments”

    Whether the increased sales volume is worth such a message (if even people take it that way – i.e. lets go by the 80-20 pareto principle here) is highly debatable

    @anonymous: tsk tsk.

    @all: why the sudden late reply? did this hit linuxchix or something in a bad way?

  8. Jack says:

    Ok, very late reply, but, I for one would be very interested in seeing regular women semi naked like in the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty ads here in the UK.

    Remember, beauty is subjective. In my eyes, a redhead with a million freckles and a podgy stomach is infinitely more attractive than a plain blonde with a flat stomach. Also, has anyone considered that maybe celebrities use Linux? What if we could get them onboard?

    As for the WOW campaign, I found myself thinking about some of those things that’s more wow(!) than WOW. And once I did use Vista (forced to, was on the new laptop which replaced a dead desktop) I quickly found a LInux Live CD and rebooted.