Time travel for girls

An unexpected side-effect of being more or less trapped on the sofa for weeks (as a result of the ongoing activities of evil micro-organisms) is finding yourself on an unexpected sub-warp journey to a 1970s-80s world.

This is courtesy of the only daytime tv that’s left after watching enough “factual channels” to be able to pass post-graduate courses in How things are made; What scientific myths can be busted; Ancient history, and the Origins of the universe.

I take for granted that the endless stream of programmes about WWII battles and big building projects aren’t watchable. And obviously anyone would rather saw their own foot off with a rusty steak knife than watch hours of exploitative confessional shows (like Jeremy Kyle or Jerry Springer) or talk-shows featuring minor celebs.

So ancient detective stories – such as Columbo – are almost the only half-watchable daytime tv. Which causes temporal distortion after a few hours and I start to feel as if I’m living in the 1980s.

There are series like Murder, She Wrote, Golden Girls and Cagney and Lacey. Which come as a real shock.

Programmes with female leads. And the female leads are clearly not there for decoration. What are the chances of seeing ANY 21st century TV programme in which the female stars are not glamorous? There are few enough ongoing drama series with female leads who aren’t “desperate housewives” or people who work in fashion or femmes fatales.

OK, Law and Order always has a (good-looking) female lawyer. CSI has (good looking) female CSIs. At least they have jobs. But they aren’t exactly the central characters. Could you imagine these roles being played by the sort of women you see in the Golden Girls? Of course not.

Post-feminism, my arse. These ancient tv programmes seem to have almost come from a mythical golden age, when women in the media could appear in a whole range of forms. Assuming that you don’t watch tv or read newspapers and that you doubt for a minute media representations of women are now actually much more “pre-feminist” than they were twenty-odd years ago, here’s Dell’s new site for women customers.

This exists to reach out to the heads of women who might find a non-gendered tech-selling site too sciencey and off-putting. It focuses on the exciting range of different coloured laptops that you can match to your lifestyle.

(“Complement your personal style with a choice of colors or a distinctive pattern (starting at $40)”)

There’s a featured artist. Don’t think da Vinci. (A laptop printed with details from the Last Supper would indeed tempt me, I have to admit) No the artist is

Featured Artist: Robyn Moreno
Robyn is the author of the popular style book, Practically Posh: The Smart Girls Guide to a Glam Life (Harper Collins, July 2008), and is the editor-in-chief of a Turner Media website devoted to fashion. She hosts a web series called “Darling Robyn” on The Dell Lounge, a lifestyle site on Dell.com, and is a lifestyle columnist for Ty Pennington at Home magazine.

Basically, this site assumes that women are only interested in shopping and how well their laptop will fit in a tote bag. Or as the Register says, with justified scorn:

Della has four sections that emphasis the humane, nurturing, collective, and caring aspects of… purchasing Dell computers; “products”, “tech tips”, “giving” and “featured artist”.
The site appears mainly focused on punting Dell’s Inspiron Mini 10 Netbook to ladies. It’s a computer, the company emphasizes, that will fit in your purse and let you stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues through email. And everyone knows broads fall for that kind of stuff.
Della’s “tech tips” section offers seven “unexpected” ways a netbook can change womanly existence, including helping you “find recipes online, store and organize them, and watch cooking videos”. Or maybe you’re the kind of chick that prefers to “use your mini to track calories, carbs, and protein with ease”. That just about encompasses everything you need.

If this backwards time-travel carries on for much longer, we’ll soon be handing back those pesky votes. Though we’ll be way too busy shopping and becoming bitchy but glamorous Stepford wives to notice, so I don’t suppose it matters.