Technopoesy: Plugs and Sockets

The following entry contains discussion of gender issues.

There’s a theory of anthropology known as neo-evolutionism in which the technology of a people is the key (so to speak) determiner of the culture.

I feel as though I’ve encountered that (or something like it, in a more anecdotal way) with the “lock and key” justification of sexism.

The same people I’ve met who might agree that women should have voting rights, or that women should earn as much money for doing the same work as men, still find it far more difficult to apply the stigma of promiscuity equally regardless of sex. (And a life without the power to apply stigma to anybody else at all is hardly worth contemplating.)

“If you have a key that can open up a lot of different locks, you think ‘Wow, that’s a great key!’ But if you have a lock that can be opened by just any key, you think ‘Wow, that’s a shitty lock’.”

This is an insidiously intuitive explanation. It’s quippy and memorable. Any counter-argument I could have about how reductive it is as a parallel to human sexuality, or how retina scanners do the same thing but come off more as the fish to the bicycle (and why would that be), or how mechanical terms such as “male part” or “female part” came from observations and ensuing abstraction of human sexes so why mirror it back now…well, none of that is as quippy or memorable.

But today, the part of me opposed to something so symbolically intuitive finally felt vindicated.

Pictured above to the left is the extension cord that I usually use, with exactly the sort of sockets that you would find in any wall of any home in the country I live. Sockets, in mechanical terms, are female parts.

Pictured above to the right is the plug of my computer, on which I rely (more than a bit) to provide means for survival. Plugs, in mechanical terms, are male parts.

Right now, they’re incompatible. Either the plug ought to get rid of some of its extra prongs and file down whatever remains, or the sockets need to be more promiscuous, or both. I need that compatibility to be achieved before I can go on achieving anything else. How I usually did that, though, was through a universal adaptor.

Either I lack imagination, or human gender binaries aren’t universally applicable.

This entry was posted in Urban.