Wait…who?: A Closer Look at Women in Technology

Coding is the language of tomorrow. Through my artwork, I strive to bring to light the important role women play in the rapidly expanding world of technology. The challenge is to capture the limited role females currently play in the development of technology, but the large role women play in the usage of these same technologies. 

I use appropriated content from social media, television shows, book and magazine covers, as well as other mediums to convey this message. Some of the subjects are well known, others less so. Regardless, each image tells its own story within the larger narrative. 

Olivia Andrews, Professor of Cognitive Thinking in the Arts at the New Age School of Technology and co-author of “The Art of Appropriation: A Closer Look at Today’s Technologies”

hiddenfigures
Hidden Figures: The Inspiration Behind the Hollywood Film
powerful
Wired Magazine: Where are the women?
kim
Kim’s New Insta
karlie
Karlie Kloss: Supermodel by Day + Coder by Night
grace
Grace Hopper, American Coder: More than just a Pretty Face
steveandjoanna
Steve Jobs and Joanna Hoffman: The FaceS of Apple
mark
Mark Zuckerberg: Who’s using your app?
silicon-valley copy
The Wo{men} of Silicon Valley
bigbang
Penny: The New Face of “The Big Bang Theory”
rosie-riveter copy
Rosie the Riveter: Inspiration to All

Starting this assignment, I had an extremely difficult time coming up with ideas of content to appropriate. However, once I started remixing, I couldn’t stop: I realized my topic is everywhere.

While remixing these images, I started thinking about the subtle influences of every day content in regards to how we perceive ourselves and each other. What if blonde, pretty Penny from Big Bang Theory was actually the smart, main character on the Big Bang Theory with Sheldon as the less intelligent side character? What if the content Kim Kardashian posts on her Instagram feed revolves around technology and education rather than her daily lifestyle? What if the main characters on a show about coders (Silicon Valley) were women rather than men?

The original versions of these pieces are comical because they play off social stereotypes. People watch the Big Bang Theory to laugh along with the socially awkward, yet brilliant physicist Sheldon. Or people tune into Silicon Valley since they can relate to the “male coder friend groups” they encounter in technical spaces. While some of my Remixes are also funny, I realize they are funny for a reason. When I look more closely, I realize there is a lot to be said about why placing a girl as the main character in a television show about nerdy scientists is funny.

While working on this assignment, I laughed at the ridiculous nature of some of the content I appropriated. But, I now find myself leaving this assignment somewhat frustrated. As I delve farther into my project on women in technology, I’m realizing the extent to which every day content influences people’s perceptions about what is “typical.” Although I am unsure the exact role this Remix Gallery will play into my final project, I am hoping these newfound insights will help guide my future work.

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