December 21st, 2011

fuckoff

And in pointless gender wankery news..

So, lego, huh? The ubiquitous little plastic blocks that we all played with as kids, that you could make into anything you wanted, limited only by your imagination and how many blocks you'd fired off the balcony with your homebuilt trebuchet. Well, um, maybe that was just me. But the point was that you could build ANYTHING from it - it was just a medium for creation. Meatspace Minecraft, if you will. And it was great because pretty much all kids like it, and you can safely give it to anyone who's not going to try to eat it, knowing that you're not sending them subliminal messages that say anything other than "Be creative."

And of course, you can curse someone quite effectively by hoping they stand on it barefoot. Lego is about the most versatile thing ever.

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Seriously, buy Meccano this Christmas and email Lego to tell them why. Unless you want Lego to become another reason women don't go into CompSci. That article assumes that women don't like the 'geeky' markers because they are 'uncool'. The geeky markers being Star Trek posters, video game boxes and Coke cans. I think that's bollocks tbh and that this article is getting closer to the mark when it says "That stereotype doesn’t appeal to many women who don’t like the portrait of masculinity that it evokes."

But even then I think they've missed the mark somewhat. It's not that women don't want to be seen as geeky or masculine. I'd suggest that the way 'geek' is constructed in the minds of women comes with the knowledge of the sexism that has been inherent in geek culture, particularly evident in video games, and in video gaming culture, along with Star Trek and within its fandom, and that is what's putting women off here. When you grow up feeling as if your steps into 'geeky' domains are unwelcome and being treated as inferior by those within the domains, you get the impression that this domain is unfriendly to you, and this is offputting, oddly enough. It's not the geek image that women find offputting, it's the way cultures around those geek markers have constructed themselves as 'only for men' and 'unfriendly to women'.

Do we really want Lego, that fantastic creative introduction to engineering, to become yet another marker of woman-unfriendly geekdom that is 'not for girls'?