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Much of the historiography of gender in computing relies on an implicit understanding of the power of heteronormativity in structuring women’s lives and careers.
Up to this point, however, historians of computing have paid relatively little attention to the ways in which sexuality molded outcomes and determined patterns of change in the history of computing.
They cultivated predominantly white, straight, middle-class user bases in the hope that the perceived respectability of this user base would transfer onto the new technology.
Services also aimed to pair people up using the most conservative measures of compatibility—matching like with like in the realm of social class, race, and religion, and focusing exclusively on a demographic constructed as, and assumed to be, heterosexual.
But the reason that it was making an appearance on the cover of the New Yorker almost a decade later had less to do with the specific computer in question, and more to do with what computer technology was coming to represent by the early 1960s: a potential challenge to the capacities and talents of human beings. By the early 1960s, mainframes had crept into the popular consciousness through news reports and advertising.
They were still poorly understood by the public at large, and many people were unsure about what these new machines could actually do, as well as what sorts of tasks they should do.
It shows that, contrary to what was previously believed, the first computerized dating system in either the US or the UK was run by a woman.