Net Chick

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


Megan Harlan
December 17, 1995 1:00AM (UTC)

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.

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Megan Harlan

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

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