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Because sexuality structures our technological interactions as much as it structures our social ones, sexuality intersects with the history of computing in important ways.Technology is itself an extension of society and social organization.They cultivated predominantly white, straight, middle-class user bases in the hope that the perceived respectability of this user base would transfer onto the new technology.Services also aimed to pair people up using the most conservative measures of compatibility—matching like with like in the realm of social class, race, and religion, and focusing exclusively on a demographic constructed as, and assumed to be, heterosexual.It shows that, contrary to what was previously believed, the first computerized dating system in either the US or the UK was run by a woman.
Heterosexual men’s career requirements, as well as their fantasies and fears about women’s sexuality, often shaped how women were viewed in machine rooms and whether or not they were allowed to work in certain jobs at all.Source: ICL News, 1970 Paradoxically, the same sexual strictures that hurt women’s employment chances also meant that women were ideal fodder for a new type of computing project.A growing interest in inserting new electronic computer technology into men and women’s lives as romantic middlemen was beginning to gain momentum.But the reason that it was making an appearance on the cover of the New Yorker almost a decade later had less to do with the specific computer in question, and more to do with what computer technology was coming to represent by the early 1960s: a potential challenge to the capacities and talents of human beings. By the early 1960s, mainframes had crept into the popular consciousness through news reports and advertising.They were still poorly understood by the public at large, and many people were unsure about what these new machines could actually do, as well as what sorts of tasks they should do.
Abstract: Although online dating has only recently become culturally acceptable and widespread, using computers to make romantic matches has a long history.