That link above takes you to a vetted story by our national broadcaster about a PhD student's academically researched work on gamer culture. If you can find an academically vetted refutation of these facts (not some dude's YouTube video) then I'm all ears. I doubt such a thing exists. Merely implying that this isn't true isn't an effective response either.
|It's a salty but accurate explanation|
of how the early internet evolved
toward what we have today.
The podcast above describes astonishingly sexist online situations and suggests that these aren't rare. I've run into similar problems teaching computer technology. Trying to keep girls in these courses is an ongoing frustration. Back in 2014 I called this poisonous environment "nerd machismo" and had a great deal of trouble redirecting how many tech focused boys treated these classes like their own private domain. In retrospect, if they were immersed onlline in the kind of sexism shown in the podcast above, it's little wonder they were acting this way. The odd girl who did appear in senior computer classes tended to drop out after a couple of days of listening to this bluster. I could hardly blame them.
|Girls are being chased out of ICT courses by an online culture that can|
be best described as incredibly misogynistic. In the process they are
missing a job sector with great prospects.
Last month at the ECOO Conference Andrew Campbell did a great presentation on how computer science was stolen from the pioneering women who did much of the coding in the early days:
When you consider how misogyny has directed the field of computer science in the past forty years it's little wonder that the online culture arising from all that coding tends toward the same thinking. The medium delivering the message is being made by the same special interests. This is the worst kind of systemic sexism.
Between this podcast, my own experiences and Andrew's presentation I seem to be at a confluence of ideas all pointing to a kind of misogyny that I thought was going extinct. It's 2016 but we seem to be wrestling with ideas that would look more comfortable in pre-suffragette days a century ago.
I'm a firm believer in developing technical prowess in everyone. Democratizing technical know-how is the best defence we have against being manipulated by increasingly invasive digital systems continually being rolled out by billionaires. Excluding half the population from technical literacy simply because of their gender plays right into their hands. No wonder political movements like the alt-right find such a comfortable home online where the powers that be don't want you thinking about how it works. In that place ignorance is power. In the meantime I get to go to school and interact with children who think this is how you should talk to women:
|Screen grabs of what women experience online.|