Reaction to Computer Girls

I could burn two hundred words on the blatant sexism of the article but frankly, it’s not worth the time since everyone else has covered it four times. On the subject, I’ll just say this: the article is from an issue of Cosmo magazine from 1967, of course it’s going to be sexist. Attitudes were different then and, by my own opinion, idiotic. We can’t change the past, all we can do is learn from it and try to do better now.

As for the rest of my response, I will try examining at the article as a pop article about computing and the computer industry in general in 1967. The article describes an America that has gotten used to the idea of computers in general, but one were they have not become second nature to the population yet.

One one hand, the article doesn’t waste any time explaining what a computer is and what is does, signifying that the magazines readership at least has a general clue about them. In several places in the article, computer slang is used without explanation. “Debugging” for example, appears on page 3.

On the other hand, the article does call computers “miracle machines” and treats them as if they are some unknowable magic understood only by genius engineers and mathematicians. This is a stark contrast to the computer’s familiar central place in current times.

One thing I thought was interesting was how despite all its advances, the computer industry never seems to change. Company representatives in the article mention the difficulty in finding capable, computer-savvy personnel to fill job positions, the same headache that many executives in silicon valley and beyond complain of today.



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