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Gender and Television
January 28, 2008, 6:55 pm
Filed under: 2008


Again, from the Lang book

During the 1990s, a flurry of work on women and television was published. What most of these books have in common is a preoccupation with analyzing the multifaceted role of women as audiences in various televisual experiences, with many utilizing an ethnographic approach to contemporary situations. For example, researchers have examined the responses of women to soap operas, talk shows, and sit-coms.

A review of Lynn Spigel’s Make Room for TV and Lynn Spigel and Denise Mann, ed., Private Screenings: Television and the Female Consumer was published in Postmodern Culture, 1993, and can be found here .

Cecilia Tichi also wrote about the introduction of the television into the domestic environment, and talked about the ‘electronic hearth’:

As the electronic hearth, television is emphatically joined to American history. The discourses of corporate advertisers, media interests, and consensus journalists all evoke in the very term—hearth—the traditionalism of the past. Therefore, television can be claimed as the newest embodiment of values that go deep into the national culture as that culture is historically represented, say, to school students and to an adult public assumed to be middle class in outlook and material means” (Tichi 1991, 46).

See Tichi, Cecilia. 1991. Electronic hearth: Creating an American television culture. NY: Oxford University Press.

Some of the books published in the early 1990s included: Continue reading

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Gender and the Telephone
January 28, 2008, 6:49 pm
Filed under: 2008


The impact of the telephone on women, and their role as both consumers and producers had, until the mid-1980s, received little consideration from the academic community…

Excerpt from Gender and Community in the Social Construction of the Internet by Moi (Peter Lang, 2002).

Brenda Maddox recognized the importance of examining the role gender played both in women’s use of the telephone, particularly as a site of women’s labour. In “Women and the Switchboard,” she focused on the employment opportunities created for women by the telephone, and the ghettoization of this job as a female occupation. Maddox pointed out how in North America and Europe women were recruited to be operators for the new telephone systems because it was felt that they had the necessary patient temperament, dexterity, and willingness to work for cheap wages that this occupation necessitated.

See: Maddox, Brenda. 1977. Women and the switchboard. In The social impact of the telephone, ed. Ithiel de Sola Pool. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 262–280.

See also: Hacker, Sally. 1979. Sex stratification and organizational change: A longitudinal study of AT&T. Social Problems 26:539–57.

And, Rakow, Lana. 1988b. Women and the telephone: The gendering of a communications technology. In Technology and women’s voices: Keeping in touch, ed. Cheris Kramarae. New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 207–228.

Continue reading

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January 28, 2008, 6:33 pm
Filed under: 2008


Hmmm. And modeled on boing boing  

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The Domestic as a Site of Research
January 28, 2008, 6:26 pm
Filed under: 2008


PP hand-outs for January 31

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Domestic Surveillance Technologies
January 28, 2008, 6:06 pm
Filed under: 2008


The Wireless Nanny Cam

Make nanny cam your babysitter! An Internet connection allows you to observe your kids when you are at office, or away from home. A multiple camera system with tilting and zoom features that can be manipulated remotely gives the kind of visual control you always wished you had when away. The audio recording system is another great feature for small babies and kids. Nanny cam is not a substitute for a real babysitter, as emergency events require immediate human intervention.

Motorola’s Home Monitoring and Control System provides ‘do-it-yourself’ home monitoring. Check out a few of the Flash examples of how home monitoring has comforted four households. For Maria, the marketing director, the “wired camera snaps a picture of everyone who comes in or out…” so Maria can know when her daughters have arrived home safely.

New trend: Surveilling Kids on Mobiles

Kajeet-Pay as You Go Cell Phones for KidsFirefly – Mobile for Kids

MyScene Barbie Phone

ChildLocate – mobile phone tracking for kids

Verizon Chaperone Service

Ace-Comm’s Parent Patrol

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If I Can Do It, So Can You…
January 28, 2008, 5:57 pm
Filed under: 2008

Says Barbara K!


Barbara K markets a line of power tools for women. She was a former NYC general contractor and IBM’s first female contractor.

Says Barbara K: “Working in the construction business taught me that most tools can be challenging for a woman to use. So I designed my own to better fit a woman’s size and strength. My tools weigh a little less and the grips are sized to better fit a woman’s hand. I’ve also built in extra features to make them better suited for women, like patented spring-loaded handles on my pliers and built-in thumb rests on my screwdrivers. But just because my tools are lightweight, doesn’t mean they’re light duty. My screwdrivers and hammers, for example, have induction-heated tips and faces for extra hardness. And all my tools are stylish and guaranteed forever!”

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Domestic Technologies as Time Savers?
January 28, 2008, 5:53 pm
Filed under: 2008


Since Ruth Schwartz Cowan’s pioneering book, More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave (1985) there have been a series of studies on the gendered division of household labor:

Statistics Canada studies. Here’s an overview by Katherine Marshall in Perspectives on Labor and Income (July 2006).

The proportion of those doing some housework daily, be it making sandwiches for lunch, vacuuming, or taking out the garbage, increased from 72% in 1986 to 79% in 2005. However, this increase is entirely attributable to men, whose participation rose from 54% to 69%, while women’s remained steady at around 90%. Changes in the daily participation rate for core housework (meal preparation, meal clean-up, indoor cleaning, and laundry) are the most noticeable—40% to 59% for men, and 88% to 85% for women.

Even though the proportion of people doing housework of some kind has increased, the amount of time spent at it has decreased (from an average of 2.7 hours per day in 1986 to 2.5 hours per day in 2005).


All of the decrease comes from core housework. Labour-saving devices such as dishwashers, and semi-prepared or pre-packaged food items (such as pre-washed bags of salad, already peeled carrots, or frozen dinners) as well as numerous take-out options, may be helping to cut down the time spent in kitchens.

Still, given the trend toward ever bigger homes,3 it seems puzzling to witness a reduction in time spent on housework. Canadians are not alone in this; a remarkably similar trend has been observed in the United States. Between 1975 and 1995 the average weekly hours Americans spent on housework dropped from 15.5 to 13.7. Furthermore, “women’s and men’s hours spent in housework have converged over the period, primarily due to the steep decline in women’s hours of housework” (Bianchi et al. 2000). One reason for the overall decline could be today’s service-oriented economy. From take-out meals to snow removal, groundskeeping and housecleaning, people buy many goods and services once produced in the home. Housework standards may also be falling and people are less bothered if their house fails the ‘white-glove’ dust test. In the same vein, people’s priorities may have changed as to how they want to spend their time (Bianchi et al. 2000).
Bianchi, Suzanne M., Melissa A. Milkie, Liana C. Sayer and John P. Robinson. 2000. “Is anyone doing the housework? Trends in the gender division of household labor.” Social Forces 79, no.1 (September): 191-228.

And another, published by the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in 2003, Appliances and their Impact: The Ownership of Domestic Technology and Time Spent on Household Work by Michael Bittman, James Mahmud Rice, and Judy Wacjman. It looks at the 1997 Australian Time Use Survey which investigates, among other things, time spent on domestic work…revealing that domestic technology “rarely reduced women’s unpaid working time and even, paradoxically, produces some increases in domestic labour. The domestic division of labour by gender remains remarkably resistant to technological innovation”

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