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…while the scourge of excessive political correctness must be opposed, common sense cuts both ways.

Even a cursory visit to a toy shop shows that toys are not simply organised in a reasonable fashion to appeal to boys and girls. They are so aggressively differentiated that it amounts to a form of gender fascism.

The entire girls’ area will be almost exclusively pink, and almost exclusively concerned with a) looking like a princess-whore and b) looking after a baby and a home. The boys’ section, meanwhile, will include the action toys, the science toys, and all of the miscellaneous toys.

Does “common sense” really dictate that this is right?

This is a relatively new development, driven by the greed of modern toy manufacturers and their desire to increase profits by creating micro-demographics amongst the young. It is part of the relentless commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood, particularly girlhood, which lies at the root of many of society’s concerns.

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In a way, gender theory for many in France is just another name for chaos. And some anxiety about chaos is, right now, understandable. With a floundering economy and faltering industrial base, rising unemployment and declining productivity, their borders besieged by globalization and their national institutions superseded by the European Union, the French have rarely been so divided over the identity of their nation and so demoralized over its prospects. (In a recent poll, scarcely 30 percent of respondents described themselves as optimistic over the nation’s future.) For Butler, France’s structural woes ratchet up the anxiety over sexuality and gender: Unable to stabilize the nation’s economy, protesters instead condense “those issues into the need to stabilize heterosexuality.”

This paper reviews debates, approaches, and discourses on gender, technology and development. The aim is to contribute towards the understanding of the nature, concerns and contributions of ongoing research in the gender, information communication and technology for development field. It outlines the major themes and methodological approaches to the field by reviewing and calling for changes in the theoretical and empirical directions of this area of study. It concludes with analysis of major themes emanating from the field.

ARADHANA.
How inclusive do you see the public sphere that you are researching to be?

FRANCIS.
It depends on where you locate public opinion-making.

If you do so at the level of consumption, there is something profoundly gendered about how different media have organised themselves. So, even if you look at the debate that I was speaking of about – a debate centred around a newspaper at a tea shop – it is very masculine. Tea shops are not places where women hang out.

Papers that have made a claim to wider readership and persuaded people to subscribe at home have a much more heterogeneous readership when it comes to both age and gender. At the same time, it is less democratic because it is a very private form of consumption. So, there is that level.

Then, of course, there is the larger level at which the political parties set the agenda for what counts for public discourse.

And then there are several things that people know or can talk about, at tea shops for instance, that will never be written down. For instance, in Chennai I could not have given the talk that I have given here because there are certain things that you just can’t say about powerful people.

The UK media is still dominated by sexist stereotypes and run by male journalists, according to a front page story in the Guardian on Monday. Using figures from a new study released by Women In Journalism, the Guardian created an infographic from data gathered by analyzing nine UK newspapers over the course of four weeks. In that time, across titles, 78 percent of all front page articles were written by men.

The Financial Times came out on top of the “quality press” or broadsheets with 34 percent of its front page articles written by women (The Daily Express, a tabloid, was top overall with 50 percent of front page bylines belonging to women). Meanwhile The Independent lagged behind, with only 9 percent of its 70 front-page articles written by women across the four weeks of the study.

Inequality extends to the content of those stories, too. Of 668 people quoted across titles, 83 percent were men, the study said.

Alongside this, worth noting an interesting group in the UK called Sound Women, specifically addressing many of these issues in the context of radio.