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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
You know, I was actually called "Nerd Girl" in high school and didn't care... 
13th-Jun-2008 05:53 pm
But this well-meaning stunt is just disgraceful. More than half of those women trained in the science and engineering fields leave them prematurely, and an even larger proportion have experienced sexual harassment and/or discrimination on the job. The solution to these systemic problems is not--I repeat, not--reinventing oneself as a Spice Girl who codes. As if expectations placed on women these days aren't bad enough. So it's not enough to be a rocket scientist? You have to be sexy too? Puh-leeze. I don't see any glossy pinups of Bill Gates in a speedo.

Oh, and newsflash: Five-inch stilettos aren't liberating...they just give you bunions.
14th-Jun-2008 04:14 am (UTC)
So, I'm curious - does my lack of pink heels mean I'm not a Nerd Girl? Because as someone who already has bunions despite not owning pink heels, I don't really want them.

Even makeup is far, far more effort than I feel like putting into myself every day. That's time I could be reading. Or sleeping. Or something else, you know, important. But I've failed the whole "being a girl" thing over and over and over again, so I'm probably not a good judge.
14th-Jun-2008 01:55 pm (UTC)
But I've failed the whole "being a girl" thing over and over and over again, so I'm probably not a good judge.

But you're a woman and a mother. Which is even better than "girl," as far as I'm concerned. And far more important than makeup. ^_~
14th-Jun-2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
No arguments here. ^_^ I know where my priorities are - and they're not clothes, hair, celebrity gossip, of the color pink.
14th-Jun-2008 05:39 am (UTC)
That's right--no matter the accomplishments of the lady, all the onlookers (including the ladies themselves half the time) want to boil her worth down to whether or not boys still want to have sex with her.

Please, PLEASE, let's talk about a girl's accomplishments without talking about what she looks like for a change. You said it yourself--no one cares if Bill Gates is hot or not. The hypersexualization of women in our society is absolutely disgusting.
14th-Jun-2008 01:59 pm (UTC)
Please, PLEASE, let's talk about a girl's accomplishments without talking about what she looks like for a change.

*nods* Nerd Liberation--Male Style--always seems to glorify in how, well, ugly nerds are. *thinks Revenge of the Nerds* And how that doesn't matter in the end. When the female equivalent of Nerd "Liberation" is different--all about how awesome she also looks in front of a camera--you know that something sexist is occurring.
14th-Jun-2008 06:07 am (UTC)
I’m sorry, but I totally disagree. To criticise women who choose to pursue a career in science while wearing five-inch heels is just as repressive as it would be to criticise women who choose to pursue a science career while not wearing five-inch heels. And it’s simply reinforcing a stereotype about women who choose careers.

It’s a matter of choice. Isn’t that what feminism is about? Nobody is forcing these women to wear five-inch heels. So why should they be pressured not to? Why should they be made to feel they’re betraying feminism by choosing to dress the way they want to dress? If you believe in choice you have to allow people to make choices that aren’t the choices you’d make.

14th-Jun-2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
You're assuming that people have absolute freedom of choice. Wrong! While it's a nice thought, it's not true.
14th-Jun-2008 01:41 pm (UTC)
Women certainly have absolute freedom of choice in deciding whether to wear five-inch heels or not. The women in that article were celebrating their freedom to choose how they dressed. That's a victory.
14th-Jun-2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
No, they do not. Society pressures people to conform, punishes deviance. I think you need to read up on social theory as it relates to freedom of choice.

It's interesting to me that the two women who commented above--both themselves in the SET fields--immediately reacted with rage. While the man just cheered. I dare you to entertain the possibility that they are privileged to experiential knowledge that you are not.
14th-Jun-2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
No, they do not. Society pressures people to conform

So are you saying that women are so weak-willed they're unable to resist vague social pressures? Because I happen to know lots of women who manage to resist social pressures all the time. Everyone encounters social pressures. I think women are strong enough to make their own decisions on the subject of five-inch heels. I think women are strong enough to make their own decisions as to how they dress.

There are plenty of examples in our society of genuine oppression of women. I don't think
this is one of them.

But if you can find evidence that these women were actually forced to wear pink heels, I'll accept it.

14th-Jun-2008 02:22 pm (UTC)
I'm not talking about lock-step conformity. I'm talking about all those subtle pressures and double standards that rule everyone's day, dependent upon what sort of "box" they get put into.

Funny how you want evidence. I was just scrolling through my morning paper when I found this in the NYT:


Read the "Pedicure, Please" Q&A, second down. We can assume this situation is real. Imagine--and I can--that the letter writer does not take the columnist's advice and tells her (female) assistant to get a pedicure anyway. The underlying message here is that you can have all the business smarts in the world, but that doesn't matter if you're a woman with ugly toenails. And imagine how Toenails herself would feel, her career potentially in jeopardy because of her toenails; heck, Toenails might not even realize that she's being discriminated against. But if she does...well, this explains the rage that so many women feel when confronted with these issues. (And of course other women can be sexist, too.)
14th-Jun-2008 02:38 pm (UTC)
I'm not talking about lock-step conformity. I'm talking about all those subtle pressures and double standards that rule everyone's day, dependent upon what sort of "box" they get put into.

They don't rule anyone's day. You're free to ignore those subtle pressures. If I turn on the TV right now I'm likely to be put under subtle pressure to buy exercise machines, to buy a new car, to change my brand of toothpaste. If I don't have sufficient strength of character and self-confidence to ignore those pressures I'm not going to survive. As someone who doesn't fit into a socially approved "box" I know all about subtle pressures.

If someone tries to force me into doing something, I react with rage as well. But subtle pressures I simply ignore. and all the women I know seem to manage to ignore those subtle pressures without any problems. Have you rushed out and bought a pair of five-inch pink heels because of that subtle pressure?

I think it's possible that some women wear five-inch pink heels because they like them.
14th-Jun-2008 02:45 pm (UTC)
The key line in that Q&A is:

"And don’t you suppose a woman who’s bright enough to finish her M.B.A. is capable of making her own grooming decisions? "

I'm sure she is. Just as I'm sure those Nerd Girls in the original article are capable of making their own grooming decisions. If their decisions involve five-inch pink heels you might well deplore their fashion sense or their sense of personal style if it doesn't coincide with your own, but I think it's just a tiny bit demeaning to them to assume they can't make up their own minds about it.
14th-Jun-2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
Actually, I agree with you--those girls have every right to wear what they want, even if that means objectifying themselves. Feminism IS freedom of choice, no matter how self-destructive that choice may be. My objection to what they're doing is personal and minimal.

My REAL problem is with the article. It completely overshadows the girls' accomplishments by talking about how "hot" they are. Why is what they look like such a big deal? Why is what a woman looks like ALWAYS SUCH A BIG DEAL? Why can't women be judged on what they do? Why are we even talking about what they look like? Our society is so preoccupied with what girls look like--negatively OR positively--that no matter what they do, they can't avoid objectification.

And hey, the article even referenced Tina Fey's character in 30 Rock! And that character (and to a lesser extent, her character in Mean Girls) is the most disgusting personal pandering for male attention I've ever seen. "Oh, I'm totally cute, but the fact that I don't wear pink and make a few outdated references to Star Wars means I'm a geek and all the boys don't want to have sex with me, even though plenty of them do ACTUALLY want to have sex with me, and the entire show is about me not thinking I'm cute while actually being cute!" Tina Fey even did that cover of Vanity Fair about "girls are funny, too" wearing a slinky dress and removing another slinkily dressed female comedian's hand from her breast, giving us a one-two objectification of women AGAIN when the cover was supposed to focus on their comedic skills. Tina Fey is my personal enemy.

No matter what women do, their looks are always an issue. And it's articles like that one in Newsweek that perpetuate the vicious cycle.
14th-Jun-2008 09:39 pm (UTC)
I read the same article in Newsweek and had a similar view, I think, to what Kethylia is saying. They're talking about the positives of being a girl geek, about the positives of girl geek culture, how women are able to BE more feminine in science... at the same time that they say that women get 53% of the degrees in science and hold only 20% of the jobs, where women in those jobs still report that their gender isn't welcome. It isn't so much repression as a severe disconnect in the article: Being a geek girl, being a science nerd still isn't cool and women still have challenges in those fields because of their gender. For all that Newsweek talked it up, they just glossed over important statistics which put those women in a minority, a minority who still have an uphill battle.
15th-Jun-2008 07:42 pm (UTC)
Just a second here. Why are male geeks allowed to be as ugly as they want, in the media at least, and female geeks have to look sexy too? This whole thing makes me want to stab someone.
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