Gendered discourse as a consequence of gendered socialisation
I've been planning to write a column or speak on the radio about this for a long time and I'm happy that Amanda Carpenter beat me to it. Her observation on fashion and make up being to women what sports are to men, is one of not insignificant sociological depth. What we talk about and consequently what we're interested in is a function of the group we talk about it with. And the discourse (and even the interest) has a dimension of group utility. This can explain the supposed lack of women in technology or the erroneously assumed lack of interest in gadgets by women. Apart from being an overly broad and inaccurate description of a real tendency, it assumes that there is something deeply cognitively different about men and women. But there is no (credible) support for this. Observing women talking, as I like to do, about fashion or horoscopes, I'm always struck how similar those conversations are to those by men about gadgets. They all revolve around status and use by others. Another important aspect is the causal imagery that is present. What can a particular outfit/gadget do? I suspect that doing a proper comparative study of a fashion and a gadget blog or magazine would reveal more similarities than differences in how meaning is created once we could get past the differences that are a result of the different subject matters.
I wouldn't go that far, but it is fun for political women to talk political fashion. For all you men out there, understand clothes and makeup are like football for women. We can talk about it with anybody, it's a good icebreaker, it's always fun. We'll be saying "What did you think of Michelle's dress?" at the water coolers while you all are crying about your NFL team not making it to the Superbowl.