There can be no doubt that far from reducing the sex role stereotyping that has been so apparent with the physical sciences and with ‘older’ craft and technology subjects, the introduction of Information Technology in schools is leading to the establishment of yet another high status subject with a strongly masculine bias.
(Chivers, 1987. p. 17)
The quotation above suggests that computing can increasingly be perceived as a masculine activity. This makes the concept of psychological gender particularly salient to understanding the aetiology of technophobia. Consequently the constructs of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ will be the focus of this chapter. Chapter 1 concluded by suggesting that the concept of psychological gender may be a causal factor influencing apparent sex differences in technophobia. That research referenced the work of Sandra Bem on psychological androgyny, which in turn was based on the development of sex-typing research conducted in the sixties. This chapter will outline the relevant work of the sixties and the subsequent development of Sandra Berm’s theory of psychological androgyny and the implications for technophobia. It is important to again distinguish the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. Sex refers to the biological bases of being a man or a woman, whilst gender refers to the behavioural associations of sex which are socially determined rather than biologically determined. For the purposes of discussing technophobia, the primary area of interest within the gender research is the salience of belonging to one sex or another. The interesting research concerning hermaphrodites or XX chromosome males, which questions the biological validity of
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Publication information: Book title: Technophobia:The Psychological Impact of Information Technology. Contributors: Mark J. Brosnan - Author. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 37.
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