I just read Liz Henry's critique of San Francisco Magazine's story on Marissa Mayer (Google VP). That, of course, led to reading the actual article. Most of the article is pretty good, seemingly meant to show that geeks aren't all freaks—some of them can actually function—but there are a few things which Liz pointed out that just don't sit quite right, like implying she slept her way to the top. I suggest reading her article to see what the others are.
The main point she makes is similar to one I saw in an article about Hillary Clinton and the "pink ceiling": in our society, women can be strong or feminine, not both. If you're a strong leader or exceptionally geeky, you are automatically more masculine because that's "boy stuff." and if you're girly, you must not be very serious or reliable when it comes to that sort of "boy stuff." I highly suggest reading all of the above links if you're not understanding what I mean.
Last week, TEA, a committee of Allied in Pride, my school's GLBTQ group had a workshop called Trans 101. In it, we had a little exercise where we drew things that represent ourselves. I drew my usual loose t-shirt & jeans, a pretty dress & heels, a computer, and a bunch of 1's and 0's. We were then asked to cross out what didn't stereotypically fit our assigned gender. Well, there go the computer, binary, and loose clothes. We were then asked if there are things we crossed out which we hide because they don't fit how we're supposed to be or act or what we're supposed to like.
I told them I do just the opposite. I hide the girly things about myself. Why? I'm a computer science student. Most of my time is spent in an engineering school. Almost everyone else is a guy. Well, I can be a geek or a girl. I know I'm both, but how will others react to me? I don't think I'd get the same level of respect as a girly girl as I do as a hardcore geek, even if underneath I was still geeky ol' me at heart. I've opted to be "one of the guys" to avoid being that girl who probably doesn't even like computers and is just in CS because she heard it pays.
Elfine, a close friend of mine, has decided to do exactly the opposite of what I do. She got tired of the "why does she like computers? what a freak!" attitude other girls had, so she ditched public geekiness (I just ditched trying to be friends with girls who value fashion over brains). She carries a pink EeePC in a pink purse along with a wireless mouse which she hides in a cosmetic bag (tricky, eh?). She said when she went to a 2600 meetup she got funny looks from a guy there for having the pink laptop. She intends to take a white laptop to DEFCON avoid the looks and hopefully stave off the "she must be a non-geek who was dragged along by her boyfriend" assumptions. We're trying to get an apartment together. Guess what our #1 and #2 concerns are?
- Is there enough room for all of our computers?
- Will the ISP let us set up a server?
Well, let's see if this really is oil and water. Can I keep my binary watch, my Debian-command belt, and continue to run on 20 hours of computers and 4 hours of sleep while being girly? So far, I've been wearing nail polish since January. It's always ended up horribly chipped and mangled, mind you, so I ought to learn to paint them more often, but this is a start. I got "WTF? You look like Frieda Kahlo!" a couple weeks ago when I walked into a databases class when painful sunburn meant jeans were an impossibility, forcing me into skirts in 40°F weather. The blog's new look? Well, you all said the green was hard to read, so I might as well try something new! Besides, it matches my nails.