Sunday 17 January 2021

The falacy of the mythical grandma

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia shared under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

There is a very common phenomenon occurring, mostly, with people who are new-ish to Linux. They love  Linux but given that they are new, they think it's hard.


They envision a version of Linux that is "Easy enough for Grandma".


I dislike this phrase with passion.


Why "Grandma" and not "Grandpa"? 

There is blatant sexism of the phrase. 

Somehow Grandma is less knowledgeable, less experienced or plainly less intelligent. It gives me the impression that, whoever says that, gives her Grandma an blender so she can be happier in the kitchen. It assumes that Grandpa will just "get it" and Grandma can't possibly do it. I know situations where it is the other way around.


Why "Grandma" and not "Children"?

There is blatant ageism in the phrase.

It is 2020, computers have been around for decades. By now, many women who are Grandmas have had successful careers using computers. But many have other interests that have nothing to do with computers.


Why "easy for Grandma" and not "easy for you"?

There is blatant smugness in the phrase.

Somehow the person saying that phrase "got it" as a new user. Was able to install Linux and use it, but other people couldn't possible "get it", right? They must be above average intelligent.


Maybe it is not about being a Grandma but about being interested in computers. My mom claimed to be a technophobe. At 60 I gave her a laptop and configured it with three buttons, one for the browser, one for the email and another to shut down. Well, she was not interested in browsing things or emailing people (I live in Canada, she lives in Mexico). That laptop just collected dust.


However, at 78, my mother, who is a very social person, got her first smart phone. She still does not browse or send emails but she uses Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp and the camera because that's what her friends and family use. She is 83 now and still using her smart phone, initiating and answering video calls to me and her grand children.


I know other grandmas who like to write and have learned to use the computer to open the text editor and write to their hearts content. Even publish books.


So, give more credit to grandmas and more credit to Linux.

There are distributions who are usable with little training by non-technical users. If they don't use the computer is usually because they don't want to. Not because they can't.


No comments:
Write comments

© 2014 Using FOSS. Designed by Bloggertheme9
Powered by Blogger.