As someone who writes about gender and technology, of course I had to be in the audience for the film The Social Network this weekend.
Luckily the movie was a little more sophisticated than the overly simple explanation in the plot line in which Mark Zuckerberg launches his famous Internet start-up to impress a girl who dumps him and to compensate for not being part of the final club scene at Harvard.
There were certain hackneyed generalizations about dystopia (social network sites being addictive) and utopia (the ecstasy of real-time experience bridging two countries) in the film. And women tended to be the prototypical users of software (a Stanford girl, an Oxford girl, etc.) while men are depicted as its creators. Also annoying were the "Eureka" moments on screen: our hero invents relationship status and the Facebook wall as we watch.
In general, the gender politics depended too much on clichés about women abused by distant men who could exploit their anonymity and indulge in the voyeuristic desire to surveil.
Fortunately, Justin Timberlake was there to steal the show as the co-founder of Napster and to define the parameters of Silicon Valley/South of Market cool. And the premise of presenting the story essentially as a courtroom drama (okay, a deposition drama) was somewhat interesting.
I just wish that all the onscreen action about Facebook lawyering could have been about the company's user agreements not the contract disputes between the many alleged founders of the site.