The “X for Dummies” series has its detractors who find it offensive, for sure. But, as Rebecca Rosen points out in “Thank God Somebody Finally Stepped in and Explained the Internet to Women” in The Atlantic, there is something especially offensive about this French-language series that is directed specifically at female “dummies” who want to learn about the internet or their computer.
Why exactly do we need a gender-specific series about this? The English translation of the explanation reads as follows: “Free of boring, technical considerations, this book focusses on the practical and fun sides of Macs. Of course, you will have to learn to use the operating system and domesticate it [it’s not clear if this referes to the operating system or the Mac]. But we promise to give you only the minimum tools necessary to survive in “this hostile environment”. In the chapter about the Internet, we give you all the tips to start surfing with peace of mind, communicate with your friends via messaging services [the original uses “amis”, which thankfully acknowledges that women can have male friends], go shopping safely.”
Rebecca Rosen’s final comment captures how many of us probably feel about this: “Le sigh.”