Reader Query: Gender and Robots

A reader writes:

I am looking for some literature on gender and robots for a course I am teaching in the spring. Do you (or does anyone) know of readings appropriate for undergraduate students which address either (1) why gender assignments of human beings matter/the ways in which they direct us in ordering the world or (2)issues relating to assigning gender to robots, machines and other items which don’t seem to require or have a gender?

Psychological study of intersectionality

I’ve been frustrated by not finding many psychological studies of intersectionality. This study of the intersections of gender and race seems to be one of the first. Let’s hope there are many more to come! (Thanks, TD.)

Racial and gender stereotypes have profound consequences in almost every sector of public life, from job interviews and housing to police stops and prison terms. However, only a few studies have examined whether these different categories overlap in their stereotypes. A new study on the connections between race and gender — a phenomenon called gendered race — reveals unexpected ways in which stereotypes affect our personal and professional decisions.

Easy-Bake Ovens: Not just for girls

New Jersey eighth grader McKenna Pope is sick and tired of hearing that baking is girly. She knows that male celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Alton Brown are no strangers to perfectly flaky pie crust, and Pope’s 4-year-old brother, Gavyn, is no slouch in the kitchen, either. So when he recently asked Santa for an Easy-Bake Oven, McKenna noticed that boys weren’t featured anywhere in Hasbro’s advertisements for the mini-oven. On top of that, it only came in two colors: purple and pink. Feeling burned by the suggestion that only girls bake, the budding activist decided to do something about it.

McKenna started a petition on calling on toy manufacturer Hasbro to tone down the gender-typing on the Easy-Bake Oven. The open letter to CEO Brian D. Goldner might feature a pretty adorable video of Gavyn talking about baking (and dinosaurs!), but it’s not kidding around.

Read the full article here, and sign the petition, here.