Monday, November 15, 2010

Go Team ...Very Girly Smarties!

I am not the girliest person out there, but I have my moments. I don't know how to use a curling iron, put on eye-liner (still!) and I don't often wear make-up. I wear jeans, carry a wallet, and prefer dark colors with the splash of purple or teal every now and then.

For years and years I rejected girl culture as irrelevant and problematic for women and men because strict gender roles are cultural constructs that unfairly restrict people, both men and women.

I still don't have a lot of female friends, but I have learned over the years to not stereotype or reject other women based on their girliness.

Some women like very feminine things and using the American cultural standard of what is "male" to define things like science, gaming, comic books, etc hurts all parties involved. Why can't a calculator be pink or a textbook have cute drawings in it? Making the Western concept of "male" as the default or even neutral is unfair. For women like me it makes us feel that we should be masculine if we like certain pursuits that are "manly" and cut us off from other women. In fact, the things we are into are not just for men, but are MARKETED to men, and men spread their love for those things to other men. That's the problem.

We need to market these things to all flavors of men and women. By doing so we increase by 50% the number of people reached, meaning increased sales and meaning a larger pool of intelligent people to step forward and become innovators.

To that end I am happy to see things like Computer Engineer Barbie and I plan to buy one.

I am also happy to see things like this video of a group of Cheerleaders who are also scientists.

Things like this let those little girls who are actually girly see that they can retain who they are and want to be and still go into the math and sciences. A lot of little girls like me got into math and science because we were "tomboyish" and attracted to the spaces and things that were stereotypically male. It wasn't because we were inherently masculine, but just that we liked those things.

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