Neuter Computer

Retro Picnic
Kitchen Planning

Neuter computer title pageThe Neuter computer: Computers for Girls and Boys
Sanders, Stone, and Women’s Action Alliance
1986

Submitter: There are 219 copies in WorldCat for the enjoyment of your readers. This uniquely titled book was found in the Children’s Literature section of our academic research library (PZ130.5 Sa56n). It’s not literature nor for children; I guess Library of Congress didn’t know what to do with books on computers, children, and sexism back in 1986. While I applaud the idea and reasoning for this book, the title is, well, horrible. It’s also peppered with bad clip art. My favorite is the picture showing (the neuter) computer in what is either a potato sack or a pair of really baggy underwear [image below]. Interestingly enough, there are many activities that do not require a computer. These are marked with a large “No computer” graphic that really stands out… No cover photo is available, our copy is library bound, so I’ve included a scan of the title page.

Holly: This book was ok in 1986, although clearly cataloged incorrectly. Submitter tells me that the book was submitted for re-classification and is to remain in the collection. That was not Submitter’s decision, to be clear, but is happening nonetheless. Why on earth would the library keep this, 30-odd years later?? The staff time that is going into re-cataloging it is not justified, in my not-so-humble opinion.

Neuter computer contents

encourage homework on the computer

home strategies if you don't have a computer

get an after school or summer computer job

organize a computathon

6 comments

  1. It’s interesting how things have changed in thirty-odd years. I don’t have any personal knowledge of school classrooms but I suspect that nowadays boys and girls are equally adept at using computers (and smartphones).

    The book also points out the rarity of computers at the time; many children (and adults) would not have had regular access to them. (Although I’d been using computers in high school, university, and my working life, I didn’t actually own one until the year after this book was published.) Currently most families have at least one (and likely more) computers and devices in their home; in 1986 a “computathon” was apparently necessary to acquire one to be shared by multiple children!

  2. …..

    They’re wasting time and money on keeping a book when the information is seriously out of date and most of these things CAN be done on a computer now.

    I’ve just lost a little hope here.

  3. I think the computer in the baggy pants is supposed to be… jogging? No kewl kicks, though.

    More to the point, the last computer I worked at where the keyboard was in the same housing as the CRT was a Mac 512KE. That was in 1986, so… good for them for using cutting-edge tech?

  4. “My favorite is the picture showing (the neuter) computer in what is either a potato sack or a pair of really baggy underwear”

    That’s the NEUTERED computer. The baggy pants will keep it comfortable while it heals.

  5. I think the PC in the bag is trying to do a sack race, note the paragraph below mentioning jogging.
    Aside of that, I’d like to see the “computer neutrality test” on pages 1 and 2.

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