I’m always insulted by the assumption that woman who care about the features (other than color) on their mobile phones or how much memory their hard drives have are geeks. Maybe they simply recognize — much the same way as those with a Y chromosome — that an electronic device has a job to do, and then educate themselves about what a device needs in order to do that job. Of course if those women are also writing code or modding their PC for fun, then I’m going to offer them membership to the geekerati.
But marketers and the media still can’t buy into the idea of women as intelligent consumers of electronics unless they’re buying for a kitchen or utility room. The latest culprit is the Wall Street Journal, which ran a story this week with the title “The New Gadget Geeks.” With an air of discovery, it points out that women are likely to buy the iPhone, and trots out tired stats that prove women buy household electronics.
Please. Women hold jobs, listen to music, watch TV, build web pages and talk on the phone. It’s insulting to women to say they can’t recognize features that are important to them in a gadget, and diminishes geek credibility to allow women who can do little more than distinguish between an MP3 player and mobile phone into the nerdette club. Besides, everyone knows it’s your love of science fiction that makes you a true geek, right?