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At least three women have been on the cover of "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing".

You think it's like James Bond where we're kinda supposed to pretend they're all playing the same character? Or more like Doctor Who where they explain it in the story?

@apLundell now you got me really curious about "deep Mavis Beacon lore" which I cannot help but believe must exist and must be extremely out there

@technomancy When you find it, I expect it will be excellently typed.

@apLundell @technomancy
According to Wikipedia:

There have been several models chosen to represent the confident efficiency of Mavis Beacon; her image changes to represent a "modern professional typing instructor."

So she's more like Batman or the personification of the modern professional typing instructor

@wistahe @apLundell @technomancy Isn’t it more of an Uncle Ben or Aunt Jemima situation then in that case?

It seems kind of racist that their instinct for “typing teacher” was “Haitian born african american woman”.

If you are going to make up a fictional character mascot maybe use an anthropomorphic animal or something?

@max @wistahe @apLundell it doesn't come across that way to me, because Mavis Beacon is presented as someone who possesses exemplary skill and is intended to be emulated, and Aunt Jemima is not.

but that's my take as someone who's not a member of the group being depicted, and as such is not particularly relevant.

@technomancy @wistahe @apLundell I’m thinking of the Hidden Figures thing where the word “computer” originally meant women and primarily POC. The long association of typing skills as the boring (“secretarial”) labor for women and POC. So definitely sexist, borderline on racist?

@max @technomancy @apLundell Never picked up on that until now. Yeah, I can see that though. In US media black women are so rarely portrayed outside of archetypes (and just rarely portrayed in general) that I feel it's almost impossible to have any depiction of them in anything without there being something about society being conveyed. It's a shame because black women are real people, and I think it's true for everybody that they wouldn't want to be seen for something that isn't them. I don't know, any suggestions on how to better approach these things?

@max @technomancy @apLundell @wistahe Given the note that some resellers refused to carry the software because of her but were forced by demand to change their stance it seems like a minor anti-racist win at the time.

@max @technomancy @wistahe

You're thinking of the 1940s and 50s.

Mavis Beacon is from the late 80s.

Attitudes towards computers and typing completely flip-flopped between those two time periods.

@apLundell @technomancy @wistahe Sure? But also the people that grew up under the first era lived on into the second. It’s never a clean “flip-flop”. Stereotypes live on for decades past their “home eras”.

That’s part of the argument with Aunt Jemima/Uncle Ben. Those were named decades after slavery and influenced as much or more by media telephone games of old stereotypes as any actual representatives of the stereotype.

@max @technomancy @wistahe

Ok ... But be careful of the opposite effect.

You saw a black lady chosen to represent a respected expert, and you needed to create a narrative for how such a thing could have happened.

@apLundell @technomancy @wistahe I’ve been trying to avoid definitive judgment in my posts. The closest I came was that it was definitely sexist (for so many reasons), but I can’t say for certain either way if it is or is not unintentionally racist. (I agree in the 80s we would hope/wish/believe it was not intentional, but subconscious bias if anything.) Also I appreciated the mention elsewhere in this thread that Mavis did some anti-racist good versus store biases.

@wistahe @technomancy @apLundell Renée L'Espérance would have appeared in the third edition but was worried about being typecast.

I'll show myself out.

@apLundell three different Mavis Beacons and they don't know each other but they all teach typing

@apLundell Interesting, I've heard of the software, but never seen the box. Always assumed Mavis Beacon was a guy's name.

@apLundell @nivex I had never heard of Mavis Beacon before your toot, but is it possible that it is a conferred title, like Dalai Lama or Vice Chancellor or Dread Pirate?

@apLundell but is James Bond actually supposed to be the same character or is "James Bond" a codename/alias used by whoever is currently the 007 agent?

or maybe Mavis Beacon is like Dread Pirate Roberts?

@transbian_tronbreon I like that.

After a few years, she switches places with a programmer (who is an excellent typist) and fires the rest of the dev team.

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