The Fashion Factor

July 13th, 2010 in .Blogs
Mrs Mario
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I’m going to take Nick Holland’s excellent piece just a little further here, and talk about how the market doesn’t seem to realise that women actually like technology. While I completely understand that perhaps the female geek is a niche market, there are plenty of women who love technology without being able to take it apart one-handed with a blindfold.

Where is the consumer technology magazine for women? One that reviews the chic and stylish products mentioned by Nick (such as the Eee Pad, or any one of the Karim Rashid collection of Eee PCs)? Perhaps it could even include how-to’s for women wanting to start up their own blogs, or features on the best products to fit in your handbag?

This is not me being sexist at all, it is me being practical. I chose my netbook because it fit in my bag so it wouldn’t get mauled in the mad commuter rush, be kept safe, and didn’t mean I had to schlep around a ton of bags. Anyway, moving on.

While I happen to love many technology mags, I can see why they don’t appeal to women. They’re still very much about hot chicks on the cover, or a semi-naked woman from a game used on an opening spread. Sure, we have the same thing in women’s mags but, trust me, it’s different.

Also, technology magazines, while brilliant, don’t talk to a female audience at all. The writing is obviously done by a bunch of sweaty men in a room packed with PCs sharing techy in-jokes and reminiscing about that last game they played. Don’t get me wrong here, that isn’t a bad thing; it’s just not a girl thing. It can be a little intimidating for someone who doesn’t know her GPU from her CPU to suddenly have to wade through litres of techno-speak.

On the other hand, I wonder if a magazine dedicated to women and technology is a good idea? It would defeat the purpose if it only said things like “it’s pretty” or “it’s shiny”, and would likley end up perpetuating the belief that women need special help with technology.

With many hobby or craft websites/magazines there is always a section dedicated to the beginner. Here they break down what the different terms mean, what they can do, and how to do them. Wouldn’t such a section be a good idea for anyone (be they male or female) wanting to get in on the technology action?

Everything I learned about technology was on the hoof. I’d sit at meetings or conferences and nod earnestly, all the while writing down everything I didn’t understand. Then came hours of sitting on the net trying to find the answers so that the next time I knew what on earth was going on. I thought that perhaps it was me. It turns out that many people, men and women, felt the same way and that they all pretended to know what was going on.

The technology community can be a little snobbish. I can’t imagine what would happen to me if I wandered into a room packed with cyber geniuses and said, “What does the frontside bus do, exactly?”

Yes, women like pretty things. That’s ok actually, why shouldn’t we? Lately, technology companies have recognised that fact (like ASUS) and started to create beautiful things that women covet. Now we just need to find a way of letting them know about them, without scaring them off or being patronising.

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  • Helen Shine

    Hmm. I guess I fall into your ‘girl geek’ category, but I usually find technology-aimed-at-women sites abhorrent in the extreme, probably because they end up as mens’ ideas of what women like (pink, handbags, and horrifyingly in PC World’s forwimmens section, diet tips).

    I’ll brave the tit jokes and the computer game references in the techie magazines, thanks.

  • Mrs Mario

    This is very true, Helen. I think there is a very large risk of a tech mag aimed at women going all pink and fluffy and therefore alienating women who love technology without that gumph. Perhaps there should be more of a feminine tone, without the rest of it.. Thanks so much for posting!