You know you’re a woman if…

Standard

Via my friend June, Women don’t do tech:

Would you rip files at a high or low bit-rate? Do you prefer AAC, WMA or MP3? If you are completely baffled by these questions, you are probably a woman.

You wanna come here and say that, buster?

I find this kind of reportage odd and appalling, since this is completely not my experience of the internet. Many of the most technology-forward people I know are women. Granted, I tend to move in woman-positive spaces, but even so; there’s a tone to this article that rubs me the wrong way. There’s been lots of stats about how more and more women are using the internet, and how they use it differently than men; framing women as tech-idiots is really insulting.

Xfm DJ Lauren Laverne thinks it’s a shame that women aren’t getting stuck in. “I think a lot of girls are nervous that downloading will be too complicated for them,” she says.

Well, you know, math is hard.

Michael Brook, acting editor of Stuff, a gadget magazine that has a 95 per cent male readership, says that, like Marshall, most women are attracted only to new bits of kit that look nice and serve a purpose.

“Traditionally, technology is a male environment,” he says. “Women are less patient than men: they haven’t got the time or the inclination to read a 90-page manual and work out how to operate a camera or DVD player. They want instant gratification – simple, user-friendly, intuitive technology that they can take out of the box and use immediately. They lose interest if it doesn’t work immediately, whereas men view sussing out a new gadget as a challenge. It’s that whole toolshed tradition of taking something apart to see how it works.”

Don’t you love it when editors of magazine spouts essentialist claptrap to make up for the fact that they have yet to attract a key demographic to their product? Good times, good times.

13 responses »

  1. I prefer a high bit-rate, and MP3 format, thank-you-very-much. But I guess I’m just one of those weird women who fixes computers for male friends. Does that say more about me, or my male friends – which of us is less like our gender, I wonder?

    Like

  2. Ugh. I’m with Devon, there.

    And, uh..hello? Less patient? Less likely to read a manual? I have YET to meet the guy who’ll deign to refer to a manual unless they’re hopelessly lost. *sigh*.

    Like

  3. …” [Women want] simple, user-friendly, intuitive technology that they can take out of the box and use immediately”…

    Designing products like is (or should be) the ultimate goal of any technology product designer. As a female user experience professional, I say amen to women being too smart to throw time away reading 90 page manuals. Force companies to only design easy to use, intuitive technology, and everyone wins.

    That article was astonishingly insulting, by the way. I *wish* I didn’t know how to download music… Apple would have a LOT less of my money.

    Like

  4. I identify with the woman who said she doesn’t want to update her cell phone. I don’t particularly feel like updating mine, either- it’s small, it makes calls, and it stores numbers, and that’s all I need. Why “upgrade” to get features I don’t want? But that doesn’t mean I can’t fix my friends’ cell phones for them. Or their iPods, computers, and software glitches. I’m not going to liken my own experience to that of all women, but the fact that some of us don’t constantly feel the need to buy the shiniest new thing doesn’t mean we’re too scared to handle it.

    And since I get all my music from CDs and use an iPod, I prefer a high-quality AAC format, thanks.

    Like

  5. Here from Misbehaving, to say… what the bleep? Downloading music, of all things, as a preserve for boys and their toys? The most enthusiastic and sophisticated music downloader I know is my twenty-year-old cousin — female, English major, not even registering on the scale of geekiness in our immediate family. I can vaguely envision a gender gap with regard to, say, possession of the highest-end MP3 players, but quite frankly I suspect that says more about the disposable-income gap than anything else.

    Like

  6. I hate to say it but the Torygraph often pushes its own misogynistic agenda, based on little facts and mainly anecdotal ‘evidence’ of phenomena which simply don’t exist. Its lazy journalism at best, and reinforces damaging stereotypes at worst.

    Like

  7. Technology, and women aren’t as patient as men? Try letting it all hang out for nine months, my friend. Ain’t no technological way around that, no-how. And no 90-page manuals to help you out, either.

    Like

  8. Stuff magazine has a 95 per cent male readership? Michael Brook wants to get some of the horseflesh off the pages. The Stuff website is even blocked by our corporate filters, It’s got to be because of the cleavage count, surely?

    Get out of the way girls, I wanna see the toys!

    Like

  9. Ah, the Torygraph is stuck in the dark ages readership-wise. Most of them probably still use longhand and distrust the tv remote. And to qualify Lauren Laverne’s quote (I’ve loved her for ten years, so I’m biased), her radio station is pushing a download chart with Napster so she was probably required to make some sort of asinine comment along those lines.

    I’ve been trying to explain the concept of downloading and mp3s to my father (who has been known to read the Telegraph on occasion). It’s *terrifying*.

    Like

  10. I could write a planned, well thought out rebuttal to this article, but I am just not in the mood.

    Seriously, what the fuck? Have these people ever MET any actual women, or are they just hoping if they piss them off enough they can see some face to face when they storm the office?

    In MY experience, women are the BIGGEST group that download music, or at least that’s the way it seems to me. Everywhere I look I see iPod mini’s, and they’re nearly ALL in the hands of a girl. And yes, Apple has a pink iPod…and a blue one, and a green one, and a silver one, and, with the onset of the nano, a black and a white one. It’s called OPTIONS and consumers love them.

    I don’t know about the rest of you ladies, but I was bored as hell by dolls as a child. Teaparties made me fall asleep. I watched my dad with his powersaw or change the oil in the car. I learned how to operate a drill. I took so many things apart and put them back together that my parents stopped worrying about whether I’d break stuff or not. Hell, if we had somethihng that required assembly of some kind, they’d just give it to me, because I could usually figure it out, with or without the freakin’ manual. And I had more time on my hands than they did. I put together chairs, bookshelves, and set up TVs, DVDs, and VCRs, blinds, lamps, all sorts of crap. None of this too complicated, needs to be ready right out of the box…half the fun was putting it together.

    As for technology specifically, well, my dad’s a flippin’ software engineer and I know more about operating systems than he does, both Mac AND Windows. I taught myself HTML when I was homeschooled in 6th grade, and now I have my own website. In my experience freelance design websites are MUCH more likely to be operated by women than men, and they are very very complicated.

    This article just pissed me off.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s