At the very least, our culture is redolent with assumptions that men are technological and women are non-technological (McNeil, 1987a:193). Once acquired, even if only ideologically, technological expertise becomes a key source of men’s power over women.
In his book The Selfish Gene, Dawkins (1989) proposes that human genes and memes (ideas or ‘idea viruses’ that can mutate or combine with other memes, etc.) co-evolve, such that we are gene/meme replicators. (It is not possible to give the coverage that the complexity of these concepts deserve. Interested readers are referred to Dawkins’ book). The advantage humans have over the rest of the animal world is a large array of extended phenotypes. A phenotype is an environmental manifestation of a genotype. Taking a bird as an example, the construction of a nest (the phenotype) improves the survival changes of the eggs (and consequent prolification of the bird’s genotype and nest-building meme). Dawkins (1995) argues that technology is now an integral part of human evolutionary fitness, and that we are now co-evolving with technology. He states that ‘memes that can’t cope with the new reality will not survive into future millennia’.
The relationship between computer anxiety and masculinity (discussed above) suggest that the memes that can’t cope with this new reality may well be the memes that constitute femininity (or more specifically ‘nurturance and warmth’). The masculinization of computers could represent the cultural exclusion of memes