Rachel's Blog: IT Girls

Mon, 10 Jul 2006

A new girlie calendar is about to be launched which features women who work in the IT industry posing as various screen sirens. Much as I applaud the suggested purpose here of encouraging more women into the IT field, this has to be the most arse-about way of doing it.

If you're holding back from a career in IT because you don't think there'll be opportunity to wear form fitting garments, then I suppose you'll be relived by what these images suggest. People don't buy calendars because they identify with the subjects. Witness nudie calendars in mechanics' workshops. Calendars are bought and used because people aspire to have the subjects. (Oh, please! Someone has to create a calendar of cute IT guys stroking mice in suggestive ways!) So unless there is a shortage of lesbians in IT that I'm unaware of, so far this looks ridiculous.

This calendar is not about saying that these women have brains, which they surely do, but are still primarily women. The way they are portrayed has nothing to do with their own power (with perhaps the exception of the two dressed up as Thelma and Louise - which is kind of a weird choice if you think about it) and everything to do with appealing to men. There are no images here of women using technology, because that would clearly be a turn off for people considering a career in computing.

It is male IT workers who will buy this calendar in enthusiastic support of its aims and then stick it onto their cubicle wall, full of self-righteousness. But really they're just secretly happy to have the chance to (re)introduce titillating calendars into the workplace. Because once the calendar is on the wall, all it's doing is objectifying women. It doesn't matter how talented you are in mathematics or logical thinking, nor your superior people skills, all that matters is that your have the right kind of red-lipped pout.

My suggestion for conquering the stated "geeky technologist" image of IT workers is to start handing out DVDs of The IT Crowd, because then everyone will learn that they're not to be feared, they're just a bunch of loveable old duffers.

(via The Age)