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Techno-Geek Culture and the Reification of Gender


Anne Dalke's picture

Locating Yourself There?

what's fine about this project is of course first its platform (the dynamic quality that prezi gives to what is basically a power-point presentation) and secondly/more importantly, the way it "takes on" directly Turkle's claim that the internet opens up possibilities for individual gender play, by demonstrating (you've sure got lots of creepy demonstrations!) the larger institutional structures that not only keep conventional gender roles in place, but actually reify them. Your punch line, as far as I can see, is that the internet is not an escape from, but a reflection, of the meatspace in which we live. As it is gendered, so will the on-line world be.

The last time I taught a version of this course, with Laura Blankenship in 2009, we had 10 computer science majors enrolled in a class of 40, and spent the whole last section on blogging, gaming, programming, and remaking our identities on-line. You might be interested in checking out some of the material we read together then, including particularly Judy Wajcman's  “The Cyborg Solution,” TechnoFeminism. New York: Polity, 2004, pp. 78-101; and Ellen Ullman's "Out of Time: Reflections on the Programming Life.” Educom Review 31, 4 (Jul/Aug 1996), 53-60. You might also be interested in the notes from a class visit by women comp sci profs Lisa Meeden and Dianna Xu, both of whom described themselves as not being "very “girl-y.”

My final reaction is that this paper is curiously absent your own placement, as a women computer science major, in the culture you describe. So my real question back to you is, given this analysis: where and how do you locate yourself and your experiences, past, present, and future? What are you planning to do about the situation you so acutely describe? How will you be (can you be?) part of the solution?