Nov 14, 2017 | By Tess

The founder of Make Magazine, Dale Dougherty, has apologized after unfounded claims that Chinese maker Naomi “SexyCyborg” Wu was not a real person. The initial statement, which read, “I am questioning who she really is. Naomi is a persona, not a real person. She is several or many people,” was made via Twitter last week and has since been deleted.

Dale Dougherty (left) and Naomi "SexyCyborg" Wu (right)

At 3Ders, we have followed Naomi Wu’s trajectory in the maker world closely over the past few years and have consistently admired the young female maker’s creative projects, which she typically shares through Youtube tutorials.

Wu, who specializes in experimental wearable projects, such as a wearable 3D printer and a 3D printed bikini, has also gained a significant following on the internet, with over 140 thousand Youtube subscribers and over 500 Patreon supporters, who all follow her updates and detailed maker videos.

Overall, Naomi “SexyCyborg” Wu has been a refreshing presence within the maker world, taking viewers through her original DIY projects step-by-step, often figuring things out as she goes. As she herself claims, she is not a pro at 3D printing and is exploring the technology for fun and to promote open source and maker cultures.

Naomi Wu's 3D printed makeup case/hacker kit

That is why it was so strange to hear that Dale Dougherty, the founder of Make Magazine—a reputable publication for robotics and 3D printing DIY projects—had put out a Tweet accusing Wu of not being a real person.

If you have followed Reddit feeds about Wu, then you might have come across some conspiracies which claim that the young Shenzhen-based maker is actually just the public face for her engineer boyfriend. These are unfounded and problematic in so many ways, but buried in a Reddit feed, there was not much cause for worry for Wu.

When Dougherty decided to back these claims and publicly post about them, things became a bit more complicated. According to Wu, one of her sponsor companies has already backed away from a deal it had made with her and she has received a lot of criticism from her home country.

Naomi Wu tests out wearable 3D printer

“There’s no putting this away,” Wu explained to TNW. “There’s no retraction that’s going to make people forget. The Maker scene in China is all about Western validation and [Dougherty] repeatedly called me out as fake and left that out there for days. He said it, people will repeat it. This doubt is now attached to my name and all my work.”

The original Tweet by Dougherty has since been deleted and he has issued an apology to Naomi Wu on Make. It reads:

“Naomi, I apologize for my recent tweets questioning your identity. I was wrong, and I’m sorry… To Naomi and everyone in the community, I want to say as strongly as I can that we want Make: to be inclusive and provide an arena for all Makers to share their projects, values, challenges, and humanity in a safe and supportive environment. If we fail at that, we take it seriously. I failed on Sunday and learned a valuable lesson from all of you about that. I can do better—and I will.”

Naomi "SexyCyborg" Wu's 3D printed Infinity Skirt

Still, if what Wu says is true, the damage has already been done, and she will likely receive the brunt of the consequences of Dougherty’s actions, while his own reputation will hardly be tarnished.

Let’s go back, though. Why would Dougherty make such a rash and public claim about the popular female maker?

Wu believes the attack may have been the result of her criticism towards the lack of female representation at Make events, specifically its events held in mainland China. According to the developer, she made a complaint last year about the small number of Chinese female makers at her local Shenzhen Maker Faire.

This was reportedly addressed by adding women to the event, but mostly in administrative and education positions, which Wu felt wasn’t enough. This year, the event has women lined up to speak, though Wu was incensed to see that none of them were being promoted or shown in the event’s promo material. Wu believes it was perhaps her hard stance on gender equality that provoked Dougherty.

3D printed nano drone wrist mount by Naomi Wu

In his apology, Dougherty invites Wu to present at the upcoming Maker Faire in Shenzhen on the main stage, though she says she will not agree unless the other women in the event are advertised more. “I would have taken it if they agree to advertise the other women,” she told The Outline. “But I'm not going to help them marginalize other women.”

What this series of events goes to show is that there is still lots of inequality within the maker and 3D printing communities. Hearing that a high-profile and influential white man has come out to discredit and undermine a blossoming DIY maker for what seems to be no reason at all, is pretty discouraging.

Fortunately, there are strong and talented women such as Naomi “SexyCyborg” Wu on the front-lines of the gender equality fight within the tech field. Currently, Wu is calling out to Make sponsors to hold Dougherty accountable for his sexist claims.

Hey @make advertisers!@Microsoft@intel@nvidia@BNBuzz@Parrot@TXInstruments@digikey
It would be incredibly helpful if you could take a minute to let @make know you're aware of what's going on and would like to see a better response. Thank you!

— Naomi Wu (@RealSexyCyborg) November 13, 2017



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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Franz Germany wrote at 3/24/2019 10:10:40 PM:

serpentza has a video there you can she Naomi's film crew. Youtube Inside Sexycyborg's Secret Lab on 3:13 but she does always as she were solo. nobody with high iq is walking on the street like a porn star or a whore

LookItUp wrote at 5/5/2018 9:41:48 PM:

But he's 100% right, Naomi Wu is a hoax it's extensively documented on Reddit. It's a male engineer who uses a big titted asian woman as his avatar.

Royce Barber wrote at 1/12/2018 7:23:54 AM:

Make magazine has gotten too big for it's pants. It needs to shed the CEO and restructure. I'm no nazi feminist, but Make needs to make sure they have many cultures in their projects, as well as females, and give everyone the exact attention they have earned. Who knows or cares who helps out Naomi, she sometimes has help, but SHE is the star, she is the brain behind the projects, she is the one who gets hurt if something goes wrong. She deserves praise for being bold. Having Make CEO publicly shame her, is unthinkable.

3Drasle wrote at 11/17/2017 7:02:05 AM:

Dale Dougherty is not a real person.

PacoBell wrote at 11/17/2017 3:29:03 AM:

"she will likely receive the brunt of the consequences of Dougherty’s actions, while his own reputation will hardly be tarnished." I don't know about anyone else, but I'm going to go out of my way to actively boycott anything to do with this corrupt organization. No more Maker Faire for me. I'll find other venue to connect to interesting people. Dale's tone-deaf antics have poisoned the well.

Andy from Workshopshed wrote at 11/15/2017 2:59:10 PM:

The first step to improving things is often to recognise that there is a problem

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