Gender Novels: 1770-1922

The project that I decided to focus on was The Gender Novels Project. The goal of this project was to “draw on the views and opinions of the past to diagnose potential causes, solutions, and sources of gender-based discrimination and stereotyping.” How is this done? First, a time period must be chosen. The focused time period for this project was between 1770-1922. But then what? How is the goal reached in this project? This project focuses on looking at novels within the time period (1770-1922) and picking out the pronouns used. The point of this is to recognize, or see if there is, a significant difference in the use of male pronouns and female pronouns as well as their positive and negative use. If you look in any of the sub-categories under the “Analyses” tab you will see different graphs with information and statistics regarding what data was found within the novels that were looked at. My favorite thing about this project is that there were not specific authors that were referenced or looked at — there wasn’t one set group of authors. In fact, information was gathered by looking at “novels written by authors as famous as Jane Austen and others that are much more obscure, such as Mary E. Mann.” I think that this is important to note because now researchers on this topic know that there are a wide variety of authors embedded in the data and information that is provided in this project. 

When I was reading and looking through the website for this project I realized that there are a lot of contributors. This project was created and contributed to by twenty-eight people expanding over 4 different groups and areas of the project: data, analysis, deployment, and administration. This information can be found under the “Our Team” tab. On this tab it provides the person’s picture, their name, and their area of expertise. When looking at this page you can see the diverse group of people and their area of interest and where they may have contributed (based on their area of expertise) to this project. I really enjoyed the set up of this project and I can see why it might be part of the digital technology. This gives people an opportunity to easily gather information by being able to access different categories in a reasonable manner. It also leads to graphs that are visually helpful in understanding statistics and information. For example the graphs’ color becomes darker when you put your cursor over certain bars on the graph.

I think overall this project is a great resource to have and I certainly love the topic and the data that it provides. Like I stated before, I like how it brings more information (to people who can access technology) on the subject of women’s novels and pronouns from authors that are well-known and less familiar. However, the only thing I might improve on is the access to these books. This project references 4,200 that are sourced from the Gutenberg Project. I think it might be helpful to provide another tab with “links” to these novels. I use links in parentheses because there is most likely no free access to these novels. Nevertheless, a tab with either a link to a page with the option to buy the novel or a short summary that they even provide on this page may be a good idea. I think a summary would help those looking into this project better understand with some background knowledge of the novels. 

Gender Novels. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Always Watching, Always Using

Imagine being in a life transition and the worst possible scenario occurs. This is what happened to Virgina Eubanks and her partner, Jason. When you get a new job your insurance switches and there may be a period of time when you are without. For Eubanks, her and her partner’s insurance had quickly started up — or so they thought. Jason encountered a very unfortunate accident which left them with high medical bills, pricey prescriptions, and physical therapy. They soon learned that the start date for their new insurance was after the incident. They had been red-flagged (Eubanks 2-3). Eubanks, determined to get what’s right, fought back. The thing about Virginia and Jason’s encounter was that she knew what was going on and knew what to do about it. Unfortunately, most people would not know the warning signs of a fraudulent scandal. 

The truth us, there are an abundance of people that get used all of the time. It is unbelievably easy. The government, including insurance agencies, knows everything about everyone. This makes us, especially poor people and families, simple targets. We are always being watched. Eukbanks even states “digital tracking and decision-making systems have become routine…I started to hear them described as forces of control, manipulation, and punishment” (9-10). This is exactly what technology has done and is continuing to do. Low-income, working, and poor people/families get it the worst. Typically, if they are in this financial situation, they will not have access to all of the growing technologies. Because of this, it makes them easy to use and manipulate because even if it is the companies fault, most of the time they won’t take blame. Chances are these people will not know what’s going on nor how to handle it correctly. Therefore, they end up in a predicament where they owe all of this money that they don’t have leaving them drowning in debt or filing for bankruptcy. This being said, even if they do realize what is unfairly happening to them they most likely do not have the means to approach it through the court of law. On the other hand, they also do not have the financial income or stability to let insurance agencies, or any company for that matter, take advantage of them when they are already struggling. So, what do they do?

When I was reading this passage by Virginia Eubanks, it really opened my eyes. It made me think of the time when my mom had lost her job and we had lost our insurance. I remember her scrambling around to find something that would work. This happened again when my sister got her own insurance and we no longer were eligible for the plan that we had. Feeling like this for a short period of time was stressful enough, I couldn’t even imagine having to worry all of the time. Eubanks states, “poor and working-class people are targeted by new tools of digital poverty management and face life-threatening consequences as a result” (11). If life wasn’t hard enough, let’s just make it a little more complicated for those who are already struggling. If it wasn’t for having opportunities to technologies and resources, my mom wouldn’t have found an insurance for us as fast as she did. Not everyone has the ability to access technologies; therefore, they are always several steps behind and lacking necessities for everyday health, for everyday life. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Since there is such a big group associated with digital poverty, what are some other ways information can be given and resources provided? 
  2. Do you think that there are specific groups and people that get targeted more than others? If yes, why?
  3. Do you think companies should reimburse, or work with, people who experience an issue with them due to a technical error or glitch in the system? 
  4. Which do you think is better in relation to companies and handling personal information: technology or actual people?

By, Allison

Source: Eubanks, Virginia. Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor.

Hi, my name is Allison!

I grew up in Marathon, a small town about 20 minutes away, where there are also more cows than people. This semester I will be finishing up my junior year; I am majoring in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in English. I hope to gain an abundance of knowledge and experience throughout my time here at SUNY Cortland. Here’s to ENG 429 helping us all with that! Good luck to everyone this semester!

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