Sexism and the First Laptop

In The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal discussed the sexist beliefs that impeded the uptake of the first laptop. The sociological reason was that the keyboard was associated with secretaries (then seen as “women’s work”). Business men were not too keen to be associated with the activity of typing. The psychological reason was also gendered: business men were not as competent in this type of work, which made them feel ashamed and reticent to use this new technology. Reflecting on Madrigal’s article, Global Sociology Blog writes:

“This is an interesting story as our students often treat their current technological tools as a given. They tend to not consider that what gets (1) funded, (2) researched, and (3) developed and manufactured is the product of social processes embedded in cultural values and social structures of privileges. These things put together create the context in which, at every stage, certain ideas are acceptable and possible and others are not.”