Are they really from Mars? Apples, tattoos and the fall of man

This blog post by Ronja really got me thinking about the way technology has altered our day-to-day lives and ways of communicating. I started pondering on gender differences as well, and on how these can be utilized in the design of teaching practices that motivate and appeal to both boys and girls in the classroom. Assuming, of course, that there are gender differences pertaining to the use of technology?

Let me start by attempting to analyse myself and my attitudes towards technology in general. I find the various programmes and solutions to be practical and highly useful. However, I embrace digital technologies only as a means to an end, i.e., if I need to learn something to achieve a specific purpose, I’ll do it. I’ve been working in the private sector for several years, and I’ve been a super user of several applications, webmaster and problem-solver for my co-workers. Embarking on my studies last autumn, I instantly started using EndNote. The reason for this? The use of EndNote will A) ensure consistent citation, and B) save time that I can spend otherwise fruitfully engaged, i.e. with my nose in a book. It’s a useful application indeed, but that’s all.

My Better Half, on the other hand, has a totally different view of technology. In addition to serving as my always helpful and obliging ITSD (IT Support Department), he is crazy about apples. There are scarcely any appliances or technological solutions in our home that do not have names beginning with an “i”: iMac, iTunes, iPhone, iWeb, iMovie – you name it. For him, there’s no truly satisfying TGIF moment unless MacWorld or another iMagazine constitutes part of the deal. Friday nights are often spent reading about cables, chargers, new apps, new programmes and other iStuff. He knows I’m not of the same inclination, however. When he’s out shopping for iProducts, he humbly asks for solutions with a high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor), as he’s well aware of the fact that I will only learn whatever (preferably not too complicated) iFunctions I need to know in order to use the iApplications to a stated purpose. Pure female logic. Sometimes, men really do appear to be from Mars, with their love of iThingies etc. I, on the other hand, am generally spending my time off otherwise fruitfully engaged, i.e., solving crossword puzzles.

How do these deliberations tie in with tattoos, you might ask? Well, I must admit that I have a couple of tattoos on my back, depicting two of my beloved cats. Tacky, some might say, but there it is. I view my skin as a canvas that will bear testimony to the passions in my life (provided that they are discreet, of course). My Better Half is a totally different matter. According to him, his skin is a pristine and virginal piece of art that will remain so from cradle to grave. No ink will ever be allowed to penetrate his conservative hide. Unless it is an Apple, of course. Then he might consider it. Well, only time will tell whether deeply rooted principles will ever yield to male iPassion.

Nevertheless, on the basis of these musings and lessons learned throughout life, I have adopted the view that technology has a wider appeal for people of the masculine persuasion than for us women. Normann (2012) asks whether the access to digital tools may improve the general motivation of boys. If so, go for it! If tactile activities serve to motivate boys and enable them to benefit from their acquired digital skills, let’s put technology to fruitful use in the classroom. As a means to end, that is, not as an end in itself.

In the Book of Genesis, woman was the one tempting man with the offer of an apple. The sinful woman has ever since been blamed for everything that is wrong with the world; wars, pestilence and iProblems included. Now, the roles seem to have been reversed. Personally, I will only take a bite of the apple when I deem it necessary in order to achieve specific goals. Apart from that, I’ll probably spend the rest of my life running away from that damned fruit.

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openclipart.org                                                                  

Reference
Normann, A. (2012). Det var en gang ei jente som ikke ville snakke engelsk – bruken av digital storytelling i språkopplæringa. In K. H. Haug, G. Jamissen, & C. Ohlmann (Eds.), Digitalt fortalte historier (pp. 185-197). Oslo: Cappelen Damm akademisk

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2 thoughts on “Are they really from Mars? Apples, tattoos and the fall of man

  1. Fun to read, you always have a funny way of saying things. I agree that there really ARE gender differences when it comes to using technology. But in my house, I must say we have swapped roles….. When it comes to tattoos, on the other hand, we are totally the same…….. Fun and interesting reading 🙂

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  2. There is actually a lot of research on the genderificaion of digital artefacts being done at NTNU right now!(Check out STS and Kristine Ask’s work) A lot of it has to do with how things are culturally percieved. The link to tattoos are interesting in that matter. When I was young, tattoos were a masculine thing that only bearded bikers, sailors and criminals were sporting. The first break in this norm I experienced when my cousin(who is female and 11 years older than me) got a tattoo. It was, at least how my young self percievd, controversial. Flash forward to present day. Now, “everyone” have tattoos! Male or female! I’m involved in womens Roller Derby, where I am one of the few who does not have any tattoos, several of my friends and even my sisters boyfriend have tattoos. I have discussed tattoos with other teachers in the teachers office at one of the schools I have worked at. I actually planned to get one this weekend for charity, but the line was too long! The moral is that something that used to be percieved as something masculine and somewhat exoctic and even dangerous could quite quickly turn into something everyone accepts and uses. This could also be the future of technology!

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