Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Technology Lets You Be A Jedi But Not A Woman

I'm geeking out! This amazing new invention lets us unleash our inner Jedis to control our technology. I am finally beginning to feel that we are in that future promised to us by The Jetsons and Back to the Future Part 2!

The MYO from Thalmic Labs is an armband that detects motion and muscle movements to allow control of a Mac, PC, or other device using gestures. And at $149 pre-sale it's a real steal. As stated on their website, the device works "right out of the box" and "can control presentations, video, content, games, browse the web, create music, edit videos, and so much more." So cool! Just watch the video and think how proud Yoda will be of you when you rewind a video with the flick of your hand that says "these aren't the droids you are looking for."

I am so excited by the cool, futuristic technology of this that I almost didn't notice the major problem with it's promotional video. Almost. Did you catch it? Watch it again. It's not what is in the video that is disturbing, it's what is not in the video. What's not in this video is women! There is not one woman or girl using the MYO. They show 8 amazing and practical uses for this technology and it's all men using it. Does it not work for women? Can women not be technology Jedis? At the very sexist least they could have had a woman be the person chopping veggies and using this gadget to rewind the cooking tutorial.
While I'm still fascinated by this device, this is a problem. A video marketing new technology does something like this, totally omitting anyone who doesn't have a penis, and I see exactly what I am trying to prove when I constantly feel the need to assert myself as smart and geeky. This absolutely perpetuates that stereotype that boys will buy tech toys because they are smarter and into science and technology. And girls will buy pretty pink lacy dishtowels-or some other archaic crap-because they are prettier and like pretty things and playing house. Ugh.
Here's the underlying issue.....
I know it's trendy to be a geek right now. (Though I just don't understand the Urkel nerd glasses trend.)
But I am not a geek to be chic. I am a full on technology/gadget loving guru who, thanks to my brother, saw the original Star Wars trilogy enough times we could recreate it verbatim with our hundreds of action figures. I also still love my Super Nintendo, playing along with Jeopardy, and obsessively reading the news from many sites including Science News.
So my problem with this current trend that embraces geekiness is that I think it's created "geek posers"-especially among girls/women.
Ok, I obviously bought the Darth Vader sweater at Forever 21.
These women who are now wearing their over-sized glasses, watching Big Bang Theory, buying sweaters with Darth Vader on them from Forever 21, and talking about how into technology they are because they synced their ipad and their iphone are the equivalent to me of a hipster dude with a moustache-total frauds.
It's not that I don't think it's wonderful that geek culture seems to make it cool to be smart, especially after girls have had a long suffering history of a world telling them it was ok to be pretty and dumb. Remember that talking Barbie in the early 90's that said "math class is tough?" But what's not wonderful about this geek culture is that it isn't encouraging girls to be any smarter, it's just encouraging them to look smarter. Technology is the future, and we need to make sure that it is not a boys club. And ladies, look at the cool technology skills that you could miss out on by not being a real (smart) geek. Now let's use this MYO device to perform Jedi mind control tricks on men.

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