Re: Recent sexism postings

Subject: Re: Recent sexism postings
From: Jim Porter <jporter -at- MACE -dot- CC -dot- PURDUE -dot- EDU>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1993 13:48:23 EST

>With all due respect, no one has made it clear to me why these discussions
>belong on this list.

The discussion pertains certainly to hiring practices--but it also
pertains to issues of design and writing. Deborah Bosley's recent
article "A Study of Gender and its Influence on Visual Design"
(TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION, August 1993) suggests one promising line of
inquiry: IF "gender is a factor in how males and females perceive
visual information" (546), then this might affect how technical
communicators perceive design issues. Are we currently designing
visuals for men only, or assuming a masculine norm for visual
literacy? I can see some possible application here to the design of
interfaces (e.g., for online help), if research shows that men and
women tend to process visual information differently. (Cynthia and
Dickie Selfe gave a paper at the recent Computers & Writing conference
that considered the gender and racial politics of computer
interfaces.) Researchers like Mary Lay have pointed out how gender
influences the group dynamic for collaborative writing projects.

Ditto race and culture. It's interesting to me that the tech
communication field does seem willing to discuss issues in
international, cross-cultural communications--how cultural differences
might affect in a dramatic how we write and communicate--but is less
willing to consider race and gender issues. Maybe this is my
impression only.

I guess I don't understand why some think this discussion does NOT

Jim Porter
Purdue University
jporter -at- mace -dot- cc -dot- purdue -dot- edu

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