As Jayme Poisson tells us in “Mothers of Invention” (Shameless, Fall 2008), Countess Ada (Née Byron) Lovelace was one of the world’s first computer programmers. In fact, her programs, written for friend Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, pre-date the existence of the machine itself, since Babbage died before it reached completion. Both a bleeding edge technician, and the purveyor of Romantic-Era vaporware, Lovelace was a pioneering expert in the novel field of computation in the early parts of the 19th century.
This week Suw Charman-Anderson, angered by yet another set of fairly juvenile activities centred around women, geekiness and objectification, made a pledge that she would write about a woman in technology she admired on March 24th. That date strikes me as being like, the distant future, but assuming I remember, I will certainly come up with someone I can profile from the canon of my personal acquaintances.
Now I have already gotten irritated about the yearly Wired “Sexiest Geeks” contest so this year I am pleased to see that the user generated list actually contains sexy geeks that do not conform to stereotype. That being said, the top 10 are still… Well, I don’t know if it’s their geekiness per se that got them bumped to the top of the list. Unless “geekiness” is actually a cup-size and I misunderstood something?
Equally infuriating to Suw is this post on Techcrunch that features the “hotness of girls falling out of planes in bikinis”. (Note: involves some upper body nudity and the aforementioned airplane). In any case, objectification of women, and the concurrent denigration of their intelligence is what Ada Lovelace Day intends to address.
So, if you think “Geekiness” and “Sexiness” (granted highly subjective as categories) need to be reclaimed from the terrain of air gymnastics and the disturbing slaverings of fan-boy culture, then by all means, write some purple prose to your favorite geeks on March 24th as well.
Note: As quid pro quo I would suggest that like the Wired list this year has done, a bit of gender-bending would be a breath of fresh air. The point (to me anyway) is not only to recognize geeks that have vajeens, period. It’s to celebrate under-recognized nerds, innovators, hippies with old linux boxes they use to keep track of their ascending sign, whatever. Just no more of the typical boring celebration of girls for their hooters loosely disguised as geekiness.
Girls with boobies, + boys with a staring problem != sexy geeks;
Loop +1; return