Net Chick

Megan Harlan reviews Carla Sinclair's "Net Chick :A Smart-Girl Guide to the Wired World".

Published December 16, 1995 8:00PM (EST)

Choosing which sites to visit on that amorphous Internet entity, the World Wide Web, is surely a matter of taste and interest; the best guidebooks (such as the "NetGuide" series) tend to focus on a particular subject, ferreting out every related nook and cranny the Web contains. "Net Chick" targets a heretofore ignored audience: it is not only the first definitive net-guide geared toward women, but proves to be a sassy, supremely subjective and meticulously researched look at today's (and tomorrow's) techno-culture -- like Wired magazine, but for women.

Sinclair is, in fact, a regular contributor to Wired, as well as editor-in-chief and co-founder of bOING bOING, a West Coast technology-oriented 'zine. With her formidable on-line experience and energetic, girl-talk style, she shines a kind of power-feminist -- yet unabashedly feminine -- light on the Web. She's as enthusiastic with her on-line shopping tips as she is detailing feminist chat groups. Chapters titles range from "Sexy" (with humorous takes on cyberporn and "teledildonics") to "Media Freak" (with a list of e-mags and on-line books) to "Feelin' Groovy" (which includes sites devoted to yoga tips and herbal remedies). Each chapter contains blurb-like reviews of appropriate web sites and chat groups, along with intelligent (and often amusing) interviews with "cybergrrrls" like super-hacker St. Jude. Net novices will appreciate the overtly casual tone (the book opens with the line, "Loosen your bra straps and take a deep breath...") and lay-out (a magazine-like mix of text, pictures and side-bars). Odd finds like a list of "home pages" (personal, individually-built web-sites) should intrigue seasoned web-users. Overall, Sinclair succeeds in spinning the Web as the woman-friendly landscape it is.

By Megan Harlan

Megan Harlan's writing has appeared in the New York Times and Entertainment Weekly. She lives in New York City.

MORE FROM Megan Harlan

Related Topics ------------------------------------------