The article “Young Women’s Misinformation concerning IT Careers: Exchanging One Negative Image for Another” discusses the misinformation and misconception of Information Technology professionals and analyzes the reasons of under-representation of women in this field. In particular, the paper offers research study of girls aged 16-18 in one of the cities in the United States. The task was to identify whether high school girls consider those who devote life to IT career as geeks or loner. The results showed that high schools girls had neutral attitude towards IT professionals not viewing them mad. The scientists say that research results contradicted widely held belief about IT careers. Therefore, there is a need to re-asses the loner image of IT professionals in large urban areas. However, the results can’t be considered positive as it may seem – more than half of interviewed argued that IT professionals are really obsessed with computers and lost sense of reality. Moreover, they argue they crated their own reality not letting anyone in. Thus, the geek image of IT professionals is hardly countered.
The scientists view such misconception as transformation from one type of misinformation to another and they argue that it is media that is to be blamed for imposing negative stereotypes leading to misinformation and misunderstanding. According results, many girls haven’t even met a geeky IT professional, but they subconsciously can label them as ‘geek’ or ‘obsessed’. The reason is possibly that girls may have their own experience of game addiction. Researchers argue that “here we have an instance where a new stereotype of computer obsession, primarily based in experience, is likely to be much harder to combat than the old geek stereotype, largely based in the media”. (p.103) A person can’t easily get rid of misinformation about fixed details gained through his personal experience or media. Therefore, nowadays we experience transformation from media-based stereotypes to experience-based stereotypes.
Grant, D., Knight, L., & Steinbach, T. (2008).Young Women’s Misinformation concerning IT Careers: Exchanging One Negative Image for Another. Informing Science Journal, 10, 92-103.