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Gendered Quantified Self
Rayna Stamboliyska
Paris Descartes University
RS Strategy
+ What is ‘quantified self’ (QS)?

The continuous tracking of various aspects of our
physical bodies
n 

how many calories we burn;

n 

our body fat percentage;

n 

how many steps we take in a day;

n 

how long we sleep;

n 

n 

how many hours a week we spend commuting or sitting at a
desk;
…
http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
+

Measure and score
We have the ability to measure and score our lives
It is thus a matter of time to start scoring our:
n 

social reach and influence;

n 

tastes and preferences;

n 

achievements;

n 

credibility and reputation;

n 

habits;

n 

expertise;

n 

…
http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
+

Interconnected & shared self
All that information is at your fingertips at all times…
chart a path for improvement—and share your winning strategy and stats with others
… an interconnected world of healthier, happier people making much more informed
decisions.
http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
+

Science and QS
n 

n 

n 

REM-sleep gender differences;
diseases, e.g. amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis 1: lithium carbonate drug 0
(PatientsLikeMe, CureTogether);
…

http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
+

Science and QS
n 

REM-sleep gender differences;

n 

diseases (PatientsLikeMe, CureTogether);

n 

…

BUT
n 

n 

Does wearing orange-tinted glasses or
performing regular hopping exercises can
improve sleep quality?
Does eating butter improve arithmetic
ability?

http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
+

Science and QS
n 

Does wearing orange-tinted glasses or performing regular
hopping exercises can improve sleep quality?

n 

Does eating butter improves arithmetic ability?

n 

No rigorous controls;

n 

No double-blinding;

n 

Sample size of one;

n 

Possible placebo effects

http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
+

The future is now
● 

Potential to encourage self-tracking through gamification

● 

QS is no miracle recipe but may be an efficient method
http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
+

We are all Sheldon
SHELDON: When do you
evacuate your bowels?
LEONARD: Er, when I need
to?
SHELDON: I'm sorry, but I
can't rent to hippies.
LEONARD: OK, 8:00?
SHELDON: I can't give you 8.
I can give you 7:30.

http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
+

We are all Sheldon… O rly?

‘Manly dieting’

“Nothing manly about watching your weight”, The Chicago Tribune, 9 Dec 2002

http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
+

What’s wrong with girls’ bodies?
Women do not really quantify themselves sensu QS
1) anything framed around dieting and calories;
2) anything described as being about fertility
are practices associated with 'feminine stuff’ and make
many of us keen to avoid being “that girl”

http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
+

The hungry games
n 

n 

n 

“Monitor 'calories out' but not
'calories in’…“
“The proliferation of apps that
obsessively quantify eating and
fitness—Tap&Track, My Diet Diary,
Fitbit Activity, and hundreds of others
—have radically transformed the
way anorexia afflicts patients.”
“QS is helping Flore in fighting back
anorexia.”
http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
+

‘Are you tracking anything?’

Bentham & the Panopticon
http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
+

‘Visibility is a trap’
n 

“For me, launching into a discussion of my existing selftracking projects would basically be like coming to a
conference in my underwear.” (W.E. Boesel)

n 

for many marginalized groups: “visibility is a
trap” (Foucault, ‘panopticism’)

http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
+

Thank you!
rayna@hatewasabi.info
@MaliciaRogue

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Gendered Quantified Self: my talk at FLOSSIE 2013

  • 1. + Gendered Quantified Self Rayna Stamboliyska Paris Descartes University RS Strategy
  • 2. + What is ‘quantified self’ (QS)? The continuous tracking of various aspects of our physical bodies n  how many calories we burn; n  our body fat percentage; n  how many steps we take in a day; n  how long we sleep; n  n  how many hours a week we spend commuting or sitting at a desk; … http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
  • 3. + Measure and score We have the ability to measure and score our lives It is thus a matter of time to start scoring our: n  social reach and influence; n  tastes and preferences; n  achievements; n  credibility and reputation; n  habits; n  expertise; n  … http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
  • 4. + Interconnected & shared self All that information is at your fingertips at all times… chart a path for improvement—and share your winning strategy and stats with others … an interconnected world of healthier, happier people making much more informed decisions. http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
  • 5. + Science and QS n  n  n  REM-sleep gender differences; diseases, e.g. amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 1: lithium carbonate drug 0 (PatientsLikeMe, CureTogether); … http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
  • 6. + Science and QS n  REM-sleep gender differences; n  diseases (PatientsLikeMe, CureTogether); n  … BUT n  n  Does wearing orange-tinted glasses or performing regular hopping exercises can improve sleep quality? Does eating butter improve arithmetic ability? http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
  • 7. + Science and QS n  Does wearing orange-tinted glasses or performing regular hopping exercises can improve sleep quality? n  Does eating butter improves arithmetic ability? n  No rigorous controls; n  No double-blinding; n  Sample size of one; n  Possible placebo effects http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
  • 8. + The future is now ●  Potential to encourage self-tracking through gamification ●  QS is no miracle recipe but may be an efficient method http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
  • 9. + We are all Sheldon SHELDON: When do you evacuate your bowels? LEONARD: Er, when I need to? SHELDON: I'm sorry, but I can't rent to hippies. LEONARD: OK, 8:00? SHELDON: I can't give you 8. I can give you 7:30. http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
  • 10. + We are all Sheldon… O rly? ‘Manly dieting’ “Nothing manly about watching your weight”, The Chicago Tribune, 9 Dec 2002 http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
  • 11. + What’s wrong with girls’ bodies? Women do not really quantify themselves sensu QS 1) anything framed around dieting and calories; 2) anything described as being about fertility are practices associated with 'feminine stuff’ and make many of us keen to avoid being “that girl” http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
  • 12. + The hungry games n  n  n  “Monitor 'calories out' but not 'calories in’…“ “The proliferation of apps that obsessively quantify eating and fitness—Tap&Track, My Diet Diary, Fitbit Activity, and hundreds of others —have radically transformed the way anorexia afflicts patients.” “QS is helping Flore in fighting back anorexia.” http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
  • 13. + ‘Are you tracking anything?’ Bentham & the Panopticon http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue
  • 14. + ‘Visibility is a trap’ n  “For me, launching into a discussion of my existing selftracking projects would basically be like coming to a conference in my underwear.” (W.E. Boesel) n  for many marginalized groups: “visibility is a trap” (Foucault, ‘panopticism’) http://me.hatewasabi.info .../... @MaliciaRogue