Girly Metaphors For Computers

I wrote a paper once in linguistics class that was the opposite- masculine metaphors for computers, in the sense of “from the male perspective.” It’s pretty obvious if you’re a programmer, and not a guy. I frequently kill, abort, execute, deploy, etc, in the line of duty! Reading this paper, to a friend, she was kind of shocked (and amused) to find out the name of that little nub of a mouse in the middle of a keyboard- the nipple. The dots on the F and J on the keyboard- also the nipples. Anyway.

This industry that I love for its creativity, inspiration, and smarts becomes sadly embarrassing when I’m trying to pass it onto my friends- young women and older women alike. Now, you can argue, as the picture does, that we’re reinforcing domesticity and traditional pink collar limits. In response, I’d like to say- have fun with it. What if our crafting and motherly side wasn’t so far from technology? Is that a bad thing? And, arguably, it all got started with sewing patterns. (Source: Ada Lovelace’s pattern for Jacquard on the Babbage’s machine, see “more reading”). I spent some time looking up pretty jacquard, which is to the right–>

Databases as
> kitchen cupboards
> stores/mall

Datatypes as
> types of dolls
> types of dogs/animals
> types of dishes/containers

> knitting instructions
> sewing instructions

> easy-bake-ovens.
> sample miniature sweaters for knitting
> mannequins

Data objects
> see data types, but also hair clips/hair

> talking to your belly about what you want to eat
> Calling your friend to find out what you want to wear tomorrow (kind of a stretch)

> Kids playing in a playground
> Chores

Controlling Structures/Loops, if/when
> Conditions are Knock-knock jokes – if they answer write, reply with the right answer
> Conditions- Parental conditions- if I clean my room, I get candy.
> Loops – the repetition game, “repeat everything I say until I say Monster” or Simon Says

More reading:
Programming Gender and Abrasive Masculien Metaphors
His reference to a great study: Gender HCl and Programming
Leaders of the Information Age: Ada Lovelace
Slimy Metaphors for Technology….” a very English major article, but interesting nonetheless, ha.
There’s a lot of valuable, if dry stuff on this topic.