Musings: Machines have no Gender

When I think of machines, any machine really- dishwasher to computer to a coin sorter…I am reminded of the genderless doll. You’d take her underwear down and find out that she really had no gender. Thats the joy of machines-they are sexless/ambiguous- whatever you choose to call them.

I am not a crazy feminist, I am a humanist-futurist-crazy philosophist (?!). I genuinely believe my soul/spirit has no gender and even though my body cruelly reminds me every month that I am a female, I have no issues with being in this body. If I was born in a male body, I wouldn’t have had a problem with that either. The body is just a machine, here to assist in serving its individual purpose. Despite living in a third-world country, I was raised to almost be uni-sex. I never played with cars or dolls, I loved my computers. I like a bunch of a stuff that society perceives as being girly and then a bunch more thats perceived to be manly. I don’t care. But apparently society cares.

For some bizarre reason, more so in the UK. I have seen that all technology based, remotely mechanical things are specifically marketed toward men. There’s even a shop called “Men Kind” that sells what I think is useless but awesome shit that I want. As an outsider to this Western culture, I am amused and then disturbed every-time this society in its passive-aggressive ways reminds me that I am a woman, something my Dad never did. He never stopped me from pursuing my wild ideas or using F words at the dining table. My parents unique way of raising me enriched me with enough self-esteem for the next 9 lives. All this in a society like India where it is definitely shit for a woman to walk alone at night. Yet there’s one thing I’ve never spotted in India- this technology gender gap. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the IT hubs there employ just as many women as men because engineering isn’t a perceived to be a field just for humans with dicks.

Many of my friends in India ended up being engineers, all the women in my family are math/science people, my Aunt is a mechanical engineer and my Mom at 52 is the most tech obsessed woman I know. Its fair to say that I was surrounded by “geeks” all my life so when I see a display like this at Debenhams, it makes my brain flip.

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This might be me making a rash judgement but that Debenhams display explains why I struggled for so long to find my kind of girl friends. Most girls I met in the UK have only ever been interested in speaking about “relationships”, “men”, “wedding rings” and “reproducing”. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in having these “feminine desires” but there are other avenues for women to explore, like hobbies, careers and interests. What I don’t understand is why must there be this gender divide at all? Why are mechanical-electronic-techie things always geared toward men? I love these things just as much if not more than an average 29 year old guy, so why should I constantly be made to feel like I am odd seen as I like stuff for “boys”! For starters, at my basic shit level of coding or web designing, I do know more than most guys I meet, so why is tech a boy toy?!

I also love cooking and many cooks I look upto for inspiration are male chefs. I feel as though culinary arts have almost erased the gender gap and cooking is no longer a woman’s thing. My Instagram is full of tough manly men making delicate bakery stuffs and thats cool, I am indifferent to their gender until I see shit like this and just wonder…why can’t tech erase this gap too?

There is a kitchenware shop named Lawsons in the city centre. On many instances I have seen dudes buying bakeware utensils/gadgets and not once have I seen a sign that says “Girls Toys” because we all know where that will lead us.

Emasculating men isn’t cool but it appears that masculating a woman by creating this gender divide is OK? To be honest, I don’t give a crap about either of those two terms but if I had to explain my emotions, that is how I feel, I feel like I must be some anomaly seen as I am into stuff geared toward the other sex. These strong THIS or THAT, pick a side stances on anything are hampering our future. When you enter the Plymouth Royal Parade Debenhams, there’s the make-up section, jewellery section and beyond that the boys toys section. As I walked out after being humoured and wondering how I hadn’t set off any “bro alarms” having touched these toys, I noticed female sales representatives putting on make up, sitting there being pretty…because that is what women do or at-least society thinks women should do. The oddness in that moment will forever stay registered in my brain. It is one heck of a weird world.

More than equality, we need a common sense fuelled understanding that differences will always exist but that doesn’t mean we must raise little girls to hate everything tech. Sure we all have our own interests. I hate assembling furniture but my brain still lights up at the idea of dismantling an electronic item. Machines have no gender! I doubt Debenhams will get any sense and realize their sexist mistake, after-all big firms are made up of assholes. I just felt the need to blog because this issue is close to my heart. Not sexism, but tech. Even though Superdrug’s 3 for 2 cosmetics offers get me excited, there is more to women than make up…

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