Home » Uncategorized » WHAT is required to fix a computer? Apparently, not women… (a rant)

WHAT is required to fix a computer? Apparently, not women… (a rant)

Note: Due to the name of this article, it’s linked at the bottom, lest anyone be grossed out or otherwise offended by the naming of more select parts of the male anatomy. Also, there are a couple of swears (3 total, I think) in here–you have been forewarned.

“This is another “without fail” story. And if you’re a woman who speaks that binary computer mumbo dot jumbo, spare me. Go fix a good pot roast or something; then we’ll talk.”

Yup. Taken, verbatim, from the article.

Hi there. I’m a woman. I speak that binary computer mumbo dot jumbo. It’s what I want to learn. I can also cook/bake like nobody’s business, so, Kathe Skinner, there is no way in hell that I am going to spare you anything.

First off, I believe you’re not a stupid woman. (Well, generally not stupid–posting an article that demeans your own gender as not having that je ne sais quoi that it takes to fix computers, however, makes me question that juuuuust a little bit, though.) You don’t have to be stupid to not be of the mechanically-inclined persuasion. You wanna know who’s also living proof of that? My dad. Yup. My dad. One of the least tech-savvy people I know, and I love him for it. He admits he doesn’t have the know-how. So, guess who his go-to person is when he does need help with computers? My mom. She can trouble shoot just about anything that will commonly pop up, and when she can’t, she… Looks it up! Oh, wonder of wonders; this magical thing called the internet actually has helpful stuff on it?! Since when?

My mother never studied any computer-related field, either. All she knows, she’s bothered to learn over the years because it makes her life that much easier. And she’s far more patient and involved than most IT people I’ve had to deal with. Oh, and she also makes some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. This not only includes pot roast, but also a variety of other dishes, some far more complex than something anyone can chuck in a crock pot or oven for a few hours. Yeah. I just went there.

As for me? I chose to go into computer science. As a major, and, in just a few short months, a career. For real. I apparently impressed the company I interned with so much that my manager told me the day he made his hiring decision that I was in. Yeah, I worked on an all-male team of software development engineers, and I got in. And I have many female friends in the major in the same boat. (Many of them are excellent cooks, fashionistas, and masters of other more traditionally “womanly” arts, by the way. And yes, I will keep bringing this up because you seem to think the two completely incompatible.)

Another example from my soon-to-be-(re-)employer: the amazing IT lady who fixed my laptop on the first day of my internship. Really, I walked in, she had me barely describe the problem, and then, wonder of all wonders, without even looking up the problem, she fixed it in about 2 minutes. Like magic, I tell ya! And then, she did the unthinkable: she actually let me in on how to fix it so that, should this ever happen again, I could take care of it myself! I wonder if that’s ever even crossed your mind, to ask your husband, “Hey, can you walk me through that?” and then, as he does, write down the steps. Saves a lot of time, and a lot of hassle for him. Or, better yet, have him explain as he has you work through the problem, yourself. This is actually what my dad insists upon, and has, surprisingly, been proven to help learning. (I know–who’d’ve thought it?)

Suffice it to say, I come from a family of strong women in every sense. Some are engineers, some are not, but all of ’em make damn good food. They are also beautifully feminine women, which I add since I’m sure you’re imagining that the engineers all muck about in ripped jeans and holey sweatshirts all day. They have shown me that being a woman does not limit my capabilities or options in any way, saving those where being biologically male is an absolute requirement. In this case, one does not need a y-chromosome to fix computers. (Side note: if you’d do a little reading up, you’d know that both men AND women have testosterone. Guys just happen to have more of it.)

Shame on you for saying that having a penis does the trick. Were that true, I’d bring my computer over to my cousin’s 18-month-old son every time it broke, for surely, he has the anatomy that I, a woman, do not, so he must therefore know what I could not possibly fathom! Shame on you for implying that women just aren’t mechanically inclined, and that guys are. While I can see where you’d make this assumption, I have plenty of examples very much to the contrary. Shame on you for saying outright that women must be good at one or the other, but can’t possibly be good at both. Shame on you for basically telling women out there that their positions as engineers, techs, programmers and the like don’t matter because we aren’t male and therefore can’t know. Some of us (myself included) have had to overcome not only your attitude, but not having a natural inclination towards our fields, which, by the way, if I haven’t said it enough, has JACK SHIT to do with our biological gender. Though I hate myself for it, however, I will also thank you because it is people like you who make me even more determined every day to push past all this crap and make something of myself in the field I want to be in, rather than settling for something that I would not be nearly as content with.

(I am not saying, by the way, that all women should drop whatever they’re doing and go for computers, by the way. They–and everyone, for that matter–should study what moves them, no matter whose nasty attitudes and stupid misconceptions and prejudices get in the way.)

An after-school program director loves to quote me as saying that nerds retire better–something I said when I was, oh, 12 or 13. You want to know who I snapped that back at? Someone who told me girls just don’t do this sort of stuff. These times, they be a-changin’, and, for your sake, I hope that any female engineers you may encounter set you straight.

And for my sake, and the sake of all women in computing-related fields, I hope attitudes like this become far less prevalent, especially among women. After all, if we cannot get support from within, how can we hope to achieve support from without?

The link to this… thing.


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