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Laptops and Lipsticks: Feminising Technology

Learning, Media and Technology Volume 32, Number 1, ISSN 1743-9884


This paper brings learning, mass media and technology together in a critical analysis of advertising and its gendered implications in terms of women's desires and investments in technology. It uses two advertisements for laptop computers that appeared in the same weekend news magazine as an analytical opportunity to examine collisions and collusion between discourses of femininity and discourses of technology. Each advertisement depicts women as users of computer technology yet rather than aiming for a gender-neutral image, they enact a hyperfeminity in their representation of women and in their appeals to consumers. In these advertisements language, images, ideas and desires associated with cosmetics, designer fashion and maternity are mobilised by advertisers to sell computers to women. They provide an ideal space in which to survey some key ideas in the literature and to interrogate how familiar stereotypes about women and technology are being perpetuated and challenged. The implications of these readings for a larger project on girls and technology are examined in the final section of the paper. Text of the Toshiba advertisement is appended. (Contains 2 figures and 5 notes.)


Gannon, S. (2007). Laptops and Lipsticks: Feminising Technology. Learning, Media and Technology, 32(1), 53-67. Retrieved February 26, 2020 from .

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