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I always defined myself as an internet person and a net native. But I got to a point, I don’t know, maybe three or four years ago, where I started to feel like, as a person and more importantly as a woman, I didn’t really know what my place was anymore.I didn’t feel as free to express myself on the internet as I had when I was younger.
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Whether or not I figured it out is up to the reader to determine, but it made me feel a little bit better about my place online. And part of the catalyst of writing the book was I was writing a series of articles about feminism in the ‘90s online, cyber feminism, which was something I discovered just because that was literally a footnote on a Wikipedia page about something else.
Your book focuses on women who were foundational to computing and the early internet. It blew my mind, the fact that there had been this fully formed, really interesting, colorful feminist movement on the internet the exact same time that I was coming of age online, and I just couldn’t believe that I’d missed it. And it makes me excited on one level because we get to start to uncover these now, but it also makes me really frustrated that there have been so many books about history of tech that just parrot the same ten stories about Steve Jobs going to hire the guy from Pepsi — stories that we all know.
Xerox PARC is really famous for having these bean bag chairs that everyone sat in.
But there’s this woman, Adele Goldberg, who’s a really famous computer scientist, who tells this story in a video at the Computer History Museum about how the beanbag chairs were great except for if you were pregnant, It was impossible to sit down and get up.