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08-Feb-2017 02:31

The operators who made this possible in the Anglo-American world tended to be women.

The machines, on the other hand, were coded as masculine and aligned with the male innovators who designed them.

It showed a massive, wall-sized computer, with hundreds of blinking lights, ejecting a tiny paper card with a red heart on it for its operator, who was dwarfed by the computer’s hulking form.

The drawing of the computer was supposedly based on the huge SSEC (Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator) mainframe that IBM had shown off in its Madison Avenue showroom in New York City from 1948-1952.

But rather than revolutionizing how people met and married, this article shows how early computerized dating systems re-inscribed conservative social norms about gender, race, class, and sexuality.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.Yet, the field of computing history has been slow to integrate sexuality into its historiography or theorize how sexuality plays an important role in computing’s past.The history of computer dating is a good point of entry because it is a topic whose very nature requires a discussion of sexuality.

But rather than revolutionizing how people met and married, this article shows how early computerized dating systems re-inscribed conservative social norms about gender, race, class, and sexuality.

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.

Yet, the field of computing history has been slow to integrate sexuality into its historiography or theorize how sexuality plays an important role in computing’s past.

The history of computer dating is a good point of entry because it is a topic whose very nature requires a discussion of sexuality.

The idea that women and men might meet casually, for sex, instead of within a social context that positioned marriage as the objective, hindered computer dating.