Wednesday, October 13, 2004

tympas/light/margolis et al questions

Before I get started, does anyone remember the movie Real Genius? The guys are all building super high-tech laser crap and making ice out of unstable gases in their free time and the woman in the movie's big accomplishment is building some sort of sled. Well, that and seducing a minor. Still... a fine film.

1. Light writes that hardware design was considered to be a man's job, while software programming was woman's work. Working on the assumption that computer science is now a solidly masculinized field, how and why did women lose their niche in programming?

2. Among participants in the Margolis et. al. study, male and female students reported different ways of relating to computers and different visions of what it was possible to do with them. What are the implications of the traditional ways of being a computer scientist? What would change about the field if the dominant 'ways of being' changed? What is specifically masculine about those ways of being? What is not?

3. Tympas is critical of Light, writing that by focusing her study on the mental labor of a handful of women as opposed to the manual labor of many women and men, she reproduces traditional hierarchies in the division of labor. Is his criticism valid? Why or why not?

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