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by Sumana Harihareswara

Implied verbal/emotional abuse throughout.


A few seconds of very fast cutting around 1:50.

Glossy recruiting pictures aren't enough

by Sumana Harihareswara

In "Pipeline", I wanted to vivisect the ways the mainstream US software industry tries to attract marginalized people, especially women, into engineering careers, but doesn't take care to keep people who have entered the "pipeline." I'm not the first, by far, to use the "leaky pipeline" metaphor, nor to use Taylor Swift to critique the tech industry. But I hadn't yet seen anyone use "Blank Space" specifically to analogize the tech industry to Swift's narrator, and I hope I did a good job demonstrating that similarity.

In this video I use some documentary footage of real women in engineering. For instance, a montage of happy-women-in-tech promotional video accompanies the lines:

I could show you incredible things
Stolen kisses, pretty lies
You're the king, baby, I'm your queen
Find out what you want
Be that girl for a month

I feel it's important to state that I don't mean to personally criticize any of those engineers; indeed, I include a clip of my own face in that montage. Rather, I am criticizing how the tech industry uses these kinds of glossy pictures in its recruiting materials, especially using photos of women of color, then betrays us by leaving us vulnerable to toxic work environments.

Please see for additional commentary, including a full list of source materials (video, stills, and text), and a making-of narrative.

Other media by this contributor


The tech industry has a blank space, and is quite eager to write your name. Or, as Julie Pagano put it: "So many 'diversity in tech' efforts are about getting young women into the pipeline. Ignore the fact that there's a meat grinder at the end." This fanvid of Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" uses multiple sources to critique this dynamic.

from Approximately 50 video, web, photographic, and comics sources. (2015)
Creator: brainwane
Posted by Sumana Harihareswara