PC for dummies. Female dummies.
Sexism is a widespread problem. I recently wrote about its impact on women in science, as well as a post highlighting a particularly poor example: Le Mac pour les Nulles, a French book in the “for dummies” series specifically targeted at women who supposedly need a book with pink flowers on its cover in order to get to grips with computers (which I call dummettes).
It turns out that the author of that book has written a couple more, including PC for dummettes.
The publisher’s website features the first few pages of the book, in case you want a sample. I certainly did.
From the Introduction:. (This is my own translation, with notes about where it’s tricky. The links aren’t in the original, either.)
You’ve got to admit it’s mostly a man’s world.
Yet, human sisters who click after us, do not be intimidated [the original is a literary reference which doesn’t translate as far as I know]: after all, we represent half of humanity!
Despite the fact that they questioned whether we have a soul, and despite the fact that we had to struggle until 1944 to get the vote [remember this is a French book] and until 1967 for the pill, blondes aren’t actually all that blonde under their braids and other hairdos. Brunettes are not muppets. And redheads aren’t dead-heads. [not the original sense exactly, but the point is the rhyme]
Gone is the time where mice made us jump up onto the table. We aren’t going let ourselves be overwhelmed by a lump of scrap metal, now are we? And this machine – and this is final – is going to behave like the man in our lives: he will obey us! [computers are masculine in French]
How empowering and stereotype-busting. Is this really feminism?
The summary and contents are largely the same as in the Mac for dummettes book, which I covered in a previous post.
Oh, and there’s a chapter on “plugging it in, and other fiddly bits”.
But wait, there’s more!
If the poor women of France haven’t quite had their fill of patronising stereotypes they are meant to be freeing themselves from, they can also get themselves The internet for dummettes. This seems to be more of the same.
Its summary is also re-hashed from the other two, but gives the extra justification for its existence:
En effet, force est de constaté [sic] que ce sont bien nous les femmes qui préparont les vacances, effectuons des réservations de train ou d’avion, et bien d’autres choses encore. Bourré de conseil [sic], d’astuces et de mises en garde, ce livre vous permettra d’utiliser Internet au quotidien en toute sérénité.
Which translates to
Indeed, the fact is that it is indeed [apologies for repitition, it's the best I could do right now] we women who plan the holidays, book the trains and planes, and plenty of others things, too. Full of tip [sic], tricks and warnings, this book will allow you to use the Internet every day with total peace of mind.
The contents preview is fairly innocuous for once (given that these are guides for total beginners, after all), although there are a couple of lines about “protecting the kids online”. Because all women have kids, and it’s definitely only Mum’s job to look after them.
Now, I’m off to find a liberated woman to obey. That’s how feminism is meant to work, right?