Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 9.18

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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8 Comments

  1. The story about the laptop is amazing yet so obvious in hindsight. It also shows you how biases like these limit your own personal growth. The companies that adapt and change are the ones that do better, as are the individuals who adapt and change. Learning to change your oil and learning the best way to get a stain out of the carpet are both worth while pieces of knowledge that should not be limited to specific genders. Typing is an important skill every learns these days or they will have a hard time communicating with anyone, much less getting a job.

    1. You should read the comments. It’s amazing how many men are shocked – SHOCKED! – at the statement that typing was viewed as a female occupation/skill and that typing your own letters, etc. would be seen as a demotion. To hear the guys on that thread tell it, high school typing classes were full of boys in in the 1970s. I guess the steno/typing pool wasn’t an exclusively female domain either.

      Sheesh, I still work with people who think that preparing documents is “administrative” or “clerical” and below their position.

      1. My boss tells an even older story about computers and classism. In this case, it was classism rather than sexism, as there were no women in these positions at the time. (An MRA’s dream come true.)

        He worked for the AFCRL in the mid 1960s and once was present at the demo of a new computer system for a bunch of Air Force brass. At one point, the person giving the presentation (answering a question) said to do something, you would type a command on the keyboard. One of the generals interrupted, said “Typing is for clerks”, and left. (Clerks were NCOs, usually corporals, and were rarely if ever women at the time.)

      2. Could you explain to me how this is sexist? (I’m legitimately trying to figure this out)

        I get that it’s sexist to view typing as women’s work.
        I get that executives (men) didn’t want to personally use laptops for work.

        But to me, the reason executives wouldn’t use laptops is most parsimoniously explained by the price, and by the fact that they have employees whose entire job is to type stuff. There may have been some executives who felt that typing on laptops was associated with women and thus ‘beneath them,’ but I doubt that this was the primary or even a sizable reason for not using laptops. It just seems like an outlandish claim to say that sexism is why laptops didn’t catch on immediately (from the title), or even that it was a major reason (from the text).

        1. The early laptops that they are talking about were not just glorified typewriters. They were specifically designed for business executives. And they were rejected for reasons beyond price. Heck, have you ever met a businessman who would turn down an expensive perk?

  2. I love the laptop story. When I saw the headline, I assumed that the problem was that men didn’t want to have to carry them around because it might look like they had a “purse.” Funny how they got over that one somehow. But the idea of a desk with no keyboard? That seems utterly bizarre now.

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