My Gender Studies book said something I actually agreed with: that both at home and at work, women avoid tampering with technology if something breaks, and instead let a man fix it. The book says technology tends to “freeze” gender relations – men know technology, and women are dependent on help from tech-savvy men.
The book seems to say that it’s only cultural, and girls would be more technology-capable if only culture didn’t associate technology with masculinity. But I don’t think so. There is a lot to be said about interest for the subject.
When I was a kid, I never really got into technology, computers or anything like that. I wasn’t too interested, and I always felt somehow afraid of touching technology. Like it was too hard and I can’t possibly understand it. Well, I took a calculator apart once, wanted to find silver paper inside batteries, and stuck a needle into the electrical contact, but that’s it (and it was probably dangerous). But why did I think technology was so hard? It’s not. If a 13 year old kid can learn it and become an engineer in the end, why can’t anyone else? Sure, IQ varies and IQ matters, but even a little intelligence should be plenty to learn at least SOMETHING. Like how to hang up/change a ceiling lamp without being electrocuted.
Here’s something funny: I have a master’s degree in Materials, Energy and Nanotechnology. My boyfriend has a Bachelor in Latin, Bachelor in Art and some education in English Literature. Yet he knows a lot about computers and can always fix things and get things to work, and I didn’t know what a CPU was until a few weeks ago. Turns out he read about computers ever since they were available, because it’s fun and you can do cool stuff with them.
Feminists say girls don’t do technology because they only see men doing it, and not women. Because they have no tech-literate female role models. But now that I’ve seen Tim Samaras and my own boyfriend excel in electronics without any formal education in it, I feel pretty damn inspired to do the same. It doesn’t matter if I don’t become great at it, it’s supposed to be FUN. The fun is supposed to come both from the nifty results, and the process of mastering something.
That’s one thing I feel girls need to overcome: fear of failure. Girls tend to be more fearful on average, and according to some reports, give up more easily when things don’t go their way academically. And boys are more energized by challenge and want to see where the “adventure” ends… Why should girls not just do that? Why be filled with negative feelings when something is hard? Why think of something as a problem, instead of an opportunity? Is something terrible gonna happen if you stop worrying/being frustrated, and try harder/different methods/just have fun with it?
No, nothing terrible is gonna happen. And therefore I say I’ll become a nerd. Well, to an extent. Down with technological illiteracy, there is no excuse for it.