Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In the "Oh, Please" Category

My attention was just called to this article.

It basically says that more girls and young women use the Internet than boys do. On the face of it, that's interesting, but not surprising. Granted, I interact with more women than men, and most of them are working in an industry that requires Internet proficiency.

But the article states that "New research suggests it is time to rethink the stereotypical net user as a pasty-faced male geek in Joe 90 specs, or the furtive spotty teen looking for zeppelin breasts online."

Hel-LLO! When did we establish that stereotype, 1980? I was using the Internet in 1992 to get information for my Cleveland Browns Backers newsletter. I'm no supermodel, but I've never been pasty-faced, and I've always used the Internet more than the men in my life.

But I've also been an aberration in most generalities, so okay, let's assume they're right that the Internet "began as an almost exclusively male preserve."

The article gets worse. It focuses most of its statistics on social networking, at least in the first half of the article, and says “Girls use the internet for gossiping and finding things out about friends and people you know. Boys use it more for useful things like games."

Oh. My. God.

First, when was playing games ever a better, more constructive thing than personal interaction?

Second, I'm pretty sure there is a lot of research and other kinds of activity going on, so the focus is bogus.

The article states that YouTube users are primarily men. I have no idea how they think they know that. They don't cite a source, just quote a couple of users. Perhaps YouTube accounts require that info, but how do they know it's true?

Some of the other stuff, later in the article, about women not enrolling in IT education programs, etc., is more substantial and harder to argue, but that's a very different subject. And making money via programming is a lot different from making money via usage, so saying women are gossiping but not making money is completely wrong.

One of the commenters to the article said (paraphrasing and inferring) "who cares about social networking, all the users are in peer-to-peer sharing, and that's all males." I don't think it's any better to indicate that boys mostly do illegal stuff on the 'net than it is to say girls mostly gossip.

My initial righteous indignation is wearing off and my argument is starting to get wispy, so I'm going to stop here.

It's not too late to enter my contest! I'll draw a winner at the end of the week.


Anonymous said...

You are so right about the "Oh Please" factor. I am one of the creators of a site called GossipReport.com that lets users gossip about other people. I can tell you that the gender of users on our "strictly gossip" web site is pretty much split right down the middle. The same percentage holds true off-line as well. Any psychologist or sociologist will tell you that boys and girls (or men and women for that matter) gossip equally. They just might not call it the same thing. The notion that boys aren't using the internet to gossip is clearly proven wrong just by looking at GossipReport! As a woman and a person who is well versed in how people gossip, I don't appreciate the notion that gender makes a difference in this case.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Thanks, Elizabeth! I love getting outside substantiation of my opinions. :)

JackiKing said...

LMAO...I loved that rant!

Girl Power!!!



Voice of Reason said...

GossipReport is extremely harmful to young girls...

The creators and promoters of the "gossip report" website are completely wrong. Their website should be held accountable because of its recklessly poor monitoring practices. First, anyone can place personally identifying information such as pictures, videos and last names on the website without that person's consent. Second, anyone can post any information about that person anonymously. Third, staff members of the website have repeatedly claimed that they will not remove information that are lies and/or hurtful to people. At the very least, there is no way that the staff members to verify all the posts that are lies and/or hurtful. Fourth, there is evidence that students at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington are being targeted with vicious, graphic postings that are not being removed from the website by the staff. Fifth, there is a pattern of conduct by the staff members that indicate they are reveling free publicity from the outrage over what is happening to innocent minors. These staff members include Elizabeth (hmm…) Bloch, Ashley Murphy, and "investor" David Chase who runs a criminal background organization called "Castle Branch" out of North Carolina.

All of this leads to the conclusion that the operators of this website do not want to reasonably safeguard innocent minors from harm. See the following article:


Without immediate changes in the way this website operates, there should be immediate legal action against the site, laws that prevent similar sites from being established so recklessly in the future, and boycotts of everything their creators do to earn a financial living related to this site.

Thanks for listening!

Voice of Reason said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Natalie J. Damschroder said...

(Deleted comment was a duplicate of the one above it)

I know nothing about GossipReport.com or the allegations posted here by "Voice of Reason."