I’d like to start this post by sharing a recent encounter between myself and a man sitting next to me on the plane to New York. He saw my Clemson sweatshirt and asked me what I am studying. When I told him I am majoring in Sports Communication, he laughed. He said, “Sorry, but I was not expecting that…” He seemed so baffled by it. That’s when I put on my headphones and ignored him the rest of the flight.
In part one of The Bug, we are introduced to both Roberta and Ethan. Roberta’s story is told in first person, while Ethan’s is told in third person. I think this is a way for Roberta, the female, to have a stronger voice in the novel. We know what she is thinking and how she feels about certain things. On page 56, for example, she says, “I didn’t know Wallis very well then. I couldn’t say how much I hated the company president’s seeing how desperate I was.”
Roberta also tells us about her job as a tester. Yes, the programmer does write the complex code, but the tester is the one who let’s them know when there is a mistake. “Debugging: what an odd word. As if bugging were the job of putting in bugs, and debugging the task of removing them. But no. The job of putting in bugs is called programming.” (71)
Now, how does this all relate to my conversation with the man on the plane? Well, there is no denying the fact that men are stereotypically associated with sports. Women’s basketball is rarely televised. There aren’t professional baseball or football leagues for women. The same is true for sports broadcasters. The analysts on the panel on Fox, ESPN, NBC, or other sports networks are all men. There are very few women broadcasters and they are usually the ones who talk one-on-one with the players on the sidelines. That job doesn’t leave you with the opportunity to share your ideas, or “analyze.” Also, those women all look like models. I’m sure every athlete would love to be interviewed by Erin Andrews!
I’m curious as to why Joanna sent him a postcard with a picture of “a pillar with a carving of a woman with a round, protruding belly and breasts like circles drawn with a compass.” My guess would be that Joanna is telling him that she, as a woman, is being treated like a goddess in India without him being there.
Not to contribute to these stereotypes, but does anyone else want to know what Nathan Ensmenger was looking for in Cosmo?