Whether you like it or not, technology is a boy’s pursuit. Exploiting gender stereotypes, Google portrayed its Droid as a masculine “can-do” smart-phone, in comparison to Apple’s “tiara-wearing, digitally clueless beauty-pageant queen” iPhone. Until recently, most of the video game market was directed towards boys. Also, consider the term for the room of the house with the 8-foot flat-screen plasma television, state-of-the-art hi-def surround sound stereo system, and Energy Star-rated mini-fridge: a “man cave.” Girls are absent from the frontier of technological sophistication.
Professionally, the status quo is shocking. According to Tammy Oler’s article in Bitch:
A handful of DIY designers, craft-enthusiasts and fashionistas are trying to literally makeover the appearance of girls in the landscape of technology—by outfitting them with chic, wired clothing and accessories. Oler writes, “‘tech crafting’ may just be the key to getting more women and girls involved in technology.”
Of course, digi-couture is a problematic solution to a cultural conundrum. “While tech crafting and girlcentric offerings may offer welcome alternatives to BattleBot building,” Oler warns, “they do little to ameliorate existing gender stereotypes around technology . . . . The downside of the tech-crafting push is that it risks ascribing women’s interest in technology to the domains of fashion and craft, and may inadvertently support the gender divide at the heart of the problem it seeks to help overcome.”
Similarly, Jeff Severns Guntzel recently wrote about girls’ exclusion from online file-sharing culture.