blog about gender studies

Gender and technology, Stereotypes ...

Technologies have an important part of our everyday life. The gender of a person who uses the technology has got an interesting role, but the image of the use of technology is a bit stereotyped: “Certain technologies are perceived as masculine in society, such as computing technology, fast cars spacecraft or construction tools; whereas other technologies, like kitchen tools or beauty tools, are commonly associated with feminity” 

The technology has an influence on gender relations, but gender relations can also influence technology.

To understand this, we have to take a look at the history of the design of technology. Most of the technologies were invented by men.

But new researches on gender and technology have shown that there have been also women who invented or designed technologies. We have to notice the beginnings of computer programming. At this time, it wasn’t a well-paid and good job and partly of this fact, “some of the earliest computer programmers were women”  Perhaps women are not mentioned in the history of technologies because this is an area which is normally associated with men.

Is the gender still important in a society where information and knowledge dominate?

The Internet use is balanced between the two sexes, so there isn’t a problem anymore of an equal use in the developed world. But men and women still have other expectation of the design of technology and use technology in a different way than men. “Women distance themselves from technology, while men construct a close relationship with technology.” 

These can be explanations for the fact, that women don’t have the courage to join technical business or education. The technical business guarantees a higher status in society and a regular income. It’s necessary that our society change the technology in relation to gender. Women and men are different in their behaviour, but both have the right to have an equal chance for a technical education and a well-paid job with technology.

Men and Women and the younger generation the boys and girls are different in their behaviour and so that’s the reason why men or boys and women or girls have different demands on technology.

Women are more minimalist minded than men, because men tend to buy for themselves the maximum of the available technology. Men always need the very latest Design and Tool in opposite to the women who normally use the technology which is at the house.

Female persons prefer technology which is easy to handle and which have a good-looking design.

The design plays an important role for the women, but also for men. In the first place what women think about technical tools is that the technology has to be well matched to the surroundings. For the men, buying new technology is for the most part a spontaneous decision. They see a new tool or anybody tells them about a new technology they can’t react guardedly, e.g. when they hear from an exhaust which makes a better sound for their motorbike they have to buy this and there is no way around, why nobody can throw them off course. Women are inclined to buy things which are more functional, realistic, and practical and their machinery they buy is in line with their requirements. They buy for example new technology when the technical things they had before is not any longer usable. Women don’t go shopping for new technology; first of all they use the things which are available at home. In contrast to the female behavior the men see buying new technology more as an event. To acquire the latest technology is trendy  for the men.

This example shows the shopping behavior of men and women very well: When men have to work in the house holding, for instance when they have to cook in the kitchen, the first thing that they do is to buy a new collection of pots.

In this case women tend more to use the things which are available in the kitchen to prepare a meal. Men buy sometimes things they don’t really need before, but they have the aim to have the biggest flat screen or latest technology only as an object of prestige, it’s like a trophy for them. Men are always in almost all situations ready for a competition on the contrary to the women who don’t do this normally.

These ideas of technology are of course natural for the younger generation. Mom and dad are as an example for the boys and girls and often the children react as their parents. We see, that there are a lot of differences, but what have led to these, in most parts opposing, expectations of technology in our society?

Men and women, boys and girls are influenced by the society and by their family. Boys tend to play computer games or games at games consoles. In most cases they like Games which are violent, aggressive and have a lot of action whereas girls prefer it to play with their dolls.

This is a cliché which is true in a lot of cases, but I have to take a look at their behavior of technology. Girls don’t know what’s to do with computers and so they become dissatisfied with the technology in contrast to the boys who grew up with the knowledge that their computers are as a friend for them. There are a lot of Stereotypes that girls aren’t good at computers. Parents and teachers are also influenced by these stereotypes and so it is harder for girls to persuade the others that they know how to handle computers. Boys are privileged by their parents and teachers to use computers and the girls are treated a bit unfair because the boys are certified to be the “superior sex for computer ability”  Technology, science and math are regarded as areas for men and boys. There are a lot of women doing this, nearly as much as the men, but it is harder for the women and girls because of “the potential negative evaluation caused by the stereotype”

These traditional role models are also influenced by the advertising in TV and magazines. The media shows to the men and women how they have to react in society and so the media defines what technology is actually in or out .

But in spite of this the most important factors who can influence a human being at the beginning of his life and of course in the whole life are his or her parents.

The parents decide on the technology they offer to their children. Studies show, that parents spend more money for the boy’s computers. It isn’t necessary to encourage the boys to use a computer at home, but this is different with girls. “Whether it is playing a game, researching material, writing e-mail or doing homework, girls need to be encouraged to spend time on the family’s computer.”  The parents and the teachers have the order to ensure that boys and girls are given an equal access and that both become a feeling for technology.

The problems of the stereotype have to be reduced and they don’t apply for all people. A solution for this problem could be single sex schools or single sex classes.



Joel Cooper, Kimberlee D. Weaver (2003) Gender and Computers: understanding the digital divide, Mahwah, NJ; London, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Elisabeth K. Kelan “The Politics of Gender and Technology”, (Jan-Kyrre Berg Olsen) (2009) A companion to the philosophy of technology, Malden, Massachusetts, Wiley-Blackwell

Erik Jones “European Politics, Economy and Technology”, (Jan-Kyrre Berg Olsen) (2009) A companion to the philosophy of technology, Malden, Massachusetts, Wiley-Blackwell

Wenhong Chen, Berry Wellman “Charting Digital Divides”, (William H. Dutton) (2005) Transforming Enterprise, Cambridge, Massachusetts, The MIT Press

1 Kommentar 10.6.11 16:44, kommentieren


Technology and education of male and female

In my presentation about Gender and Technology I mentioned the development of male and female especially in their education in school and their chances for a well-paid career.

I presented as a solution for the Divide in technical areas the Single Sex Schools looking at the working with computers.

Single-sex education means the separating of boys and girls in the classroom. The students are divided in the sexes, so they should have different style of education what means the lessons are structured differently, but are equal in the social contact also in the end in the educational level. In this schools or special classes only the teaching methods are specified to their sex.

In single-sex school, for instance a school with only female pupils, the girls have more freedom to practise working with the PC, because there aren’t any boys who disturb and annoy them when the girls try to understand the technology. A research on a high school in Karlsruhe (Germany), which is only for girls, has shown that girls can be good with computers, too.

In this school, the teachers remarked an increasing interest in science classes. The teachers use a lot of technologies in these science classes, so the girls ca try to work with new technology. This school has won many prices in science competitions, which is an excellent proof for the work with technology in this school. The girls are by themselves without boys and use technology. Often they have to develop presentations with the computers in the school and they do the work and research very well.

This school is a good example how girls can be introduced to using new technology. Another solution to solve the problem of the Digital Divide can be to offer computer courses at school to boys and girls. With the new methods the self-confidence and the trust in technology is sponsor shipped by the schools and their teachers. Girls and boys have the right to be well prepared to begin studies in technical areas or to get a job that is combined with technology. This can be equally interesting for boys and for girls when they start to work in our society.

Later the boys and girls may study technolgy and start a career in this business area.

Women and men can choose technical fields in the university.

Engineering and Related Technologies or Information Technology were dominated by the male. The areas Health and Education are in turn dominated by women. This shows the effect of the Digital divide on women and men in a convincing way. A lot of female students don’t have the courage to choose a career in those men-dominated business areas. Another statistic shows that there are different earning incomes one year after leaving study between female and male students who chose Engineering and Related Technologies or Information Technology. This situation is exemplarily for Europe and other countries.

These facts have to be changed by the women; they have to be encouraged for technology. However we have to accept that the differences between the sexes and their attitude to technology have led to the fact, that women don’t study something with technology and that the digital divide will be there when, the women don’t leave the stereotypes behind them.

1 Kommentar 10.6.11 16:39, kommentieren

Prattle of the Sexes

A fellow student and I presented the „Prattle of the sexes“ or why men and women don’t speak the same language.

First of all we introduced what the basic differences between the men and the women are. In the article was written that men never listen to the women in a conversation. They use the language to assert independence and are more concerned with the status. The men also prefer discussing with facts in contrast to the women who normally use conversations to share feelings and reinforce their relationship. In most cases women never get to the point, because they want to know everything and anything is taken serious. Women use language to enhance intimacy because they want to build a bond to the conversation partner.

There are some examples to present the different attitudes of men and women. In the text the Lost-in-the-car scenario was mentioned. I will give you a short description of this situation: A man and a woman are invited to a friend’s birthday; they drive with the car and search for the friend’s house. The man is sure that he is able to find the address but the woman proposes to ask someone walking down the street for help. Now they are angry with each other for the simple reason that the men don’t want to ask somebody, because after Deborah Tannen men rather give information than receiving it. For the women asking for the direction is no problem, because this will reinforce the bond between people.

Another example is Boasting. Boasting is when you talk with too much pride about something that you have or can do. Men do it for gaining higher status and due to the fact that they want to dominate. In opposite to the women who want to be accepted by anyone that is why they try to avoid boasting

Then the meta-message was defined as “the unspoken attitudes, thoughts and intentions behind the main message” (Annegret Schrick, Viewfinder,2007, Langenscheidt KG, Berlin and Munich, p.57)

At the end we concluded that according to Deborah Tannen men and women don‘t speak the same language. The main differences lie in the way how men and women communicate. I agree with her, because in the society there are so many situations where it’s presented. The unspoken thoughts behind a message are a part of the message and this is often misunderstood by the conversation partner.

1 Kommentar 10.6.11 16:22, kommentieren

The myth of Super Dad

In our seminarcourse we had some presentations about different topics of our book “Gender Roles”.

In the last time, we listened to a presentation about “The myth of Super Dad”. First of all the two who hold their presentation introduced Tony Blair to us. He is a politician and was three periods long the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. But yet in some articles he is shown as a person who works a lot but successfully combines this with being a lovely and well caring dad for his children. All in all he is presented as a “Super Dad” who is of course the best of all dads. This is a man who cares about his children regardless of the consequences. He only wants his children to have a good and happy lifetime with a lot of fun which they can enjoy. This type of father is the ideal picture for many women. It’s very hard to combine being a dad with a stressful job. They can’t relax then because they have to work around the clock. This can be a male role and there are three types of being a dad, which are not all helpful for the women.

There is the “Smug Dad Syndrome” with a dad who plays the nicest dad who cares lovely about her children, but only in public places. This men's behavior changes at home and in private. These dads have the opinion that it is the task of the woman to care about the children at home. In public places the men only want to have a better image when he plays the lovely caring father. These men could be like Tony Blair who gets presented as a “Super Dad” in the media. We can say that a “Smug Dad” isn’t a real father.

The “New Man” is a second type for a dad. This type of a dad cares for his baby and sacrifices himself for it. He keeps one’s mind on his appearance, his style and the fashion, but he loves his children.

There is a quote of Mark Perry who said: “A really guy cares about women and sex, but not because of babies and fatherhood“. In my opinion this isn’t true in the most cases. In a normal family the father loves his children and so he enjoys it to care lovely about them and so there is a “Super Dad” in a lot of families.

2 Kommentare 29.5.11 20:43, kommentieren

Trip to Karlsruhe

Our seminarcourse made a trip to the St. Dominikus high school. This is a school only for girls in Karlsruhe. I was very interested how the atmosphere will be in a Single-Sex school and how the reactions of the girls will be when there are some boys in their class.

We came in the building of the school, searched and asked for the room of the headmaster and immediately some little girls whispered about us. :D It was a bit strange for us to be in a school where only girls are around you and you could feel the glimpses of the girls there. Then we went in small groups of two or three persons into the classrooms to make our observation of the lessons. We have planned to analyse the behaviour of the girls to each other and the pupil to the teacher relation.

The analyse of the study will be presented soon.

1 Kommentar 29.5.11 20:39, kommentieren

My presentation: gender and the body

The quest for the perfect body

-         Depending on gender?

There are social demands for men and women in the society. Men and women both have the need to have a perfect body. They are focused on their ideals of beauty in fashion and the media. The fashion industry has an exemplary function for the appearance of men and women. But those beauty ideals are unrealistic and unhealthy for women as well as for men. The ideals of beauty have changed strongly over time. Today it’s regarded as beautiful, if you're thin. Skinny models encourage an increase in eating disorders and criticism of the own body. Previously, there were no little men sizes. It has changed a lot. The demand for smaller models has increased. The trends are more likely that men wear tight jeans and very tight clothes. The male models are either excessive muscular or very thin. This also leads among men to a crisis in society. Men also want to be ideal. Their problems with the obsession with beauty must be taken seriously, too. They are under similar pressure as women are exposed to. The fashion-industry expects the men body shapes who are unnatural. There is a similar influence like of the fashion on women visible. Cosmetic operations for men increased significantly: "The Harley Medical Group has remarked a rise of cosmetic operations which have been made for men by 21% compared to 2009. They have the courage to do more and care more about their appearance than before. Men don’t want to look like celebrities; they want to look thinner and healthier. The pressure on women is still higher than that of the men said Dr David Veale, a psychiatrist and author of a book about body problems.
Is there a contrast?
On the one hand, it is the goal of people to be healthy but on the other site they get lost in their obsession with beauty and look scaled-down. Can it be possible to be very thin and healthy? There are changes in women and men in society on the basis of these perceptions of the ideal. The tendency for perfection in beauty of the own body can lead to eating disorders. Eating disorders are problems with the behaviour and the victims can also have serious long-term health problems. There are many forms of the illness And there are many consequences for those who are affected. Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder. It appears for the most parts by girls and young women between the ages of 15 and 30 years. Mainly women from the Western countries are affected. This disease is steadily increasing. There are many bad Consequences of bulimia nervosa e.g. it can lead to life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.
But what can be done against this?
Normally bulimic patients need therapeutic help and Antidepressants. The disease is known since the early 80's. Affected patients have an increased risk of suicide attempts and suicides. Binge-Eating is also an eating disorder with obsessive eating. It consists of periodic eating attacks with losing the eating behaviour. In contrast to bulimia, the eating is not broken out, so obesity is usually the result. Another eating disorder is Anorexia nervosa. It affects especially girls and young women between the ages of twelve to the age of 25. Men are affected only to five percent. The Patients usually keep a strict diet or refuse food completely. Anorexics can be able to be Bulimia patients and the other way around.
What are the reasons? Why are there anorexia, bulimia and binge eating?
We don’t know the exact cause but we can think about. Probably it is a combination of psychological, social and other factors who are leading to these disorders. Reasons could be dissatisfaction with the own body: A lot of people want to be the ideal of beauty how it’s shown in the media. They have the desire for more attractivity. Maybe they are ill because of fears of failure or a low self-esteem. In women more often than men the lower self-esteem is shown in dissatisfaction with their own bodies. Also the Family can increase the fears when the parents for example have too high expectations of their children’s development. Conflicts in the family can lead to eating disorders. In my opinion the Social factors are playing a big part. Every human being will be respected by the other humans. There is a competition in most areas of the daily life. They want to be better and better-looking than the other. I think that anti-obesity campaigns from the state or some companies can lead to an intimidation of young people who are more overweight than normal people and to bullying in public constitutions. The only solution for the problems of the affected people are therapies. I hope that the eating behaviour is normalized and the mental problems are handled in these therapies.

1 Kommentar 20.1.11 18:52, kommentieren

Can boys were a skirt in school?

Dennis explained to us if boys can wear skirts, too. First he gave some short information about the meaning of Clothes. Clothes are the cover of the human body and have the function to protect the human body of coldness and e.g. injuries. Often the social identity is visualized with your Clothing. In the past the people wore loincloth. The trousers were introduced by the Scythians to improve the way of riding. Levi Strauss played a big role in this development, because he earned a lot of money in the time of the big gold rush, but not for the most part with gold… He produced the Jeans, robust trousers for the gold-rushers. In 1894 the “men society” was founded in Boston, USA. They applied for a change of men clothing and wanted that men should wear skirts. There were more teenagers who wanted to express their gender with their clothes. They introduced a “Mix’n Match Day”. On this day, men are allowed to wear women typically clothes and the other way around. But this isn’t the everyday life. On some schools there is a dress code: boys aren’t allowed to wear muscle shirts and sugging pants and girls aren’t allowed to wear mini skirts, stiletto heels and midriff-baring tops. In the most cases cross dresser, people who wear the clothes of the other gender, get trouble in the society. There are some schools who accept cross-dressing but that’s not the normal case.

In my opinion it is the right of every people to decide what he wears, but I think in the society there will be a lot of bad experiences and so I wouldn’t suggest cross-dressing.

1 Kommentar 20.1.11 18:13, kommentieren