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2009 January 25
by AH

Hello! I’m a sophomore from Haverford who wants to major in Psychology. When I first came to college I thought that I wanted to major in computer science. I didn’t really know what computer science entailed, but I really like computers so I thought that I would give it a try. The computer science course that I took left me feeling absolutely miserable and worthless because I felt that I couldn’t do anything right. So I’m one of the women who have fallen out of computer science. To fill the large empty space in my heart where computers belong I now work at Haverford’s ACC (Academic Computing Center). I have not given up on computers yet. After having discussions with a few different professors I’m thinking about possibly using a Psychology major to help me do user research. I’m a PC person myself, but I would love to learn why Macs are just so beautiful and all the little details that make it easier to interact with computers like specific fonts, specific colors, buttons. I guess that you can say that I’m a front-end design person.

I have taken several Gender and Sexuality Studies classes that I have loved, and so I could hardly resist a class called Gender and Technology. I’m really interested to learn how technology (both in the narrow and broad sense of the word) has been affected by gender and vice versa. More specifically I would like to explore why I felt that that Computer Science class was so inaccesible to me and how it might be possible to make it easier for myself as a woman to learn if I wished to attempt that aspect of computers again. For example, I would much rather learn a computer language like a foreign language class instead of like a math class.

So here’s a few clearly articulated questions that are not phrased in sentences above:

Acknowledging that no answer will fully capture all members in each grouping and those in between groupings, are there general differences between how males and females learn technology? women and men?

Has most technology (broad sense including household appliances, etc.) developed with a masculine normative aspect? (Badly articulated. Sorry.)

Are there any technologies that are considered fully “feminine” technologies that do not have some sort of masculine/feminine stigma within the aspects of manufacturing, upkeep, or use?

How do social stereotypes affect the forms of technology, for example, cyborgs and robots in the science fiction genre and reality?

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