On privacy and hysterical fiancees

There seems to be a common misconception that every woman’s life revolves around relationships; that she’s not complete until she gets the biggest rock on a ring, and that’s the happiest moment of her life ever.

That’s kinda sad.

If you’ve seen the recent commercials for the LG Optimus G Pro, you’ve probably seen the one about “fab sharing” an engagement ring. Every time I see it, I preemptively cringe because I know what’s coming.

For those of you who haven’t seen it , a man proposes to his girlfriend, who then asks him to put it on hold for a second so that she can remove her phone from her purse, primp for a moment, and then let out the most ear-splitting shriek I have ever heard in a commercial. The woman is clearly doing different takes to show just how hysterical(…ly happy?) she is. The commercial then cuts to two of her friends, who are also screaming at the top of their lungs.

I’m not sure which problem I have with this commercial is bigger: the stereotype that women go hysterical over a ring, or that the woman hijacks and shares what is clearly meant by the boyfriend to be a private moment.

I get that there are women who will go hysterical over a ring, and I respect that. But I doubt nearly as many women go quite so overboard as popular media portrays. I haven’t been proposed to, but when the boyfriend asked me out, my reaction was happily stunned silence. I could barely get out any sort of positive response. This is, I have noticed a general reaction to these types of things that happen in my life. It’s also the way I’ve seen women respond on a lot of home videos, which I trust far more than what any commercial tells me. I’ve also seen loud (but not ear-piercing) reactions from some women.

The point is: yes, they’re happy, and they should be. But not in an “I’ve waited my entire life for this ring” way; rather, in an “Oh my God, I want to make this move forward with this person” way. The ring is nice, but it’s the guy that matters. (If the guy–or girl–doesn’t matter, I’m of the opinion that you’re very much doing it wrong.) I may be slightly biased, though: I don’t want an engagement ring. Yup, you read that right. I just don’t see the need for a hunk of super-pressurized carbon. I have ideas about what I do want, and it’s far more meaningful to me, but that’s a ways down the road, so I’ll let it go for now.

Then, there’s the issue of the sharing. It’s one thing if you want your proposal to be public. I’d hope that most couples would talk it over and make sure they want to take that step forward, anyway. I would hope that the public/private thing would come up then, but failing that, I’d hope everyone would know their partner well enough to create a proposal that works for the both of them.

The fact that, in the commercial, this guy is proposing not in front of anyone else speaks volumes to me. He gets confused when she pulls out her phone–kind of a “what are you doing, lady?” sort of thing. He pretty clearly thought this was gonna be a just-the-two-of-us event, and not a just-the-two-of-us-and-all-my-Facebook-friends-Twitter-followers-and-YouTube-subscribers deal.

As much as I love how technology has enabled us to share more of our favorite moments with those close in heart but not in physical distance, not everything needs to be real-time shared. I made a joke to some friends about live-tweeting a friend’s wedding the other day, and we all laughed because it was just that stupid. I get making arrangements to share these moments somehow with those who can’t be there, but there comes a point where it crosses into entirely unreasonable territory. Most people don’t need or want a 3-ring circus (or at least, the media attention that one would garner) in order have a special moment.

I’m not an incredibly quiet person. I am actually kind of loud, being the product of a big family. I am also a person who, by and large, respects the gravity of a moment. I am someone who feels that not every moment of my life needs to be shared. (The irony of having a blog about mostly unimportant things does not escape me.) Maybe that’s just me, but given the recent entry of “oversharing” (as pertaining to social media, anyway) into the colloquial lexicon, I don’t think I’m alone. Finding the right balance is hard, and different for every person, but it can be done.

They

“Who are they?/Where are they?/How do they/Know all this?/And I’m sorry, so sorry/I’m sorry it’s like this” –“They” by Jem

I’ve seen a lot of recent posts on Facebook recently that claim that “they don’t want you to know…” followed by something that often sort of makes sense, or at least seems partly based in fact, then takes a turn for the paranoid and tells you to rise above and see the truth and don’t let “them” keep you down.

It’s a good idea in principle, rising above and seeing the truth and not letting people keep you down, but I’m a cynic, and I’m convinced that the people who spread these messages have just as much of an agenda as the “they” to which they refer, whether “they” are Republicans, the Obama administration, your high school administration, big pharma (and corporations in general), the Illuminati, Bronies, Hare Krishnas, ceramic artists, and just about any other group-like entity you can think of. And sure, they all probably do have agendas. Some of them are likely rather more benign. I’ve yet to uncover any information leading me to believe that Bronies are out to do anything more than convince us all that friendship is magic. Heck, I’d say that’s a fairly honorable task!

All joking (well, most of it, anyway) aside, this fear-mongering and spreading of vague quasi-information with an inflammatory bent just sort of reminds me of how the Them (a quartet of 10-year-old miscreants) from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens are trying to figure out how the world works and wind up parroting their parents in all sorts of ridiculous ways. Are there people out there to get “us” (whoever “we” are) and destroy the world/society/ice cream as we know it? Almost certainly! But a lot of them aren’t nearly so under-handed about it. That’s kind of how you make change: by making it known.

Anyone who tries to tell me “They’re wrong/trying to oppress you/behind [name your catastrophe]—I have all the answers!” has got a long way to go before I’m convinced. In my opinion, anyone who claims to have all the answers to my problems—or anyone’s problems—is either deluded or lying. As Arthur Weasley so eloquently puts it in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, “Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.” You’d probably think that, by this coin, I’m a dedicated anarchist. Nope. I do believe that we need some sort of societal regulation—it just needs to be open. While I believe that people are good on the whole, I don’t necessarily think that we function well outside of some sort of structure as it stands now: it’s just far too ingrained in our brains right now to make a radical shift.

Like many things, I am a moderate in regards to rules. Of the nine alignments, I always test as neutral good. I believe in the flexibility of rules when it pertains to helping people. (Like, feeding the poor, clothing the naked, healing the sick, etc; not creating golden parachutes and corporate immunity.) I believe in people doing what works for them in general, as long as it doesn’t infringe upon anyone else’s rights. Above all, I believe that extremism is detrimental to society, even extreme moderation. I mean, you do have to wander outside the norm sometimes! I just have a hard time going one way or the other on a lot of issues when both sides make sense to me.

But getting back to conspiracy theories and theorists… I’m not sold. I don’t appreciate the mentality that others are out to get us. To be mistrusting of anyone who identifies one way or another leads to a pretty miserable life. There are definitely better ways to spend your energy. The boyfriend is always telling me not to worry about this, that, or the other thing. In regards to what “they” are planning (obviously my total destruction because I’m far too sensible…), I’m taking his advice, but then, I didn’t really need it to begin with here. I mean, by most estimates (at least, those of my age group), the government has been plotting to take us all out for about 12 years now. In fact, they’ve always been on the brink of it. So, if they want to do it, and they have the resources, what’s been stopping them?

Maybe, just maybe, it’s that this was never an issue to begin with. The issue at hand is just making crappy decisions based on bad information because sometimes, that’s the best we’ve got. But God forbid the people in charge of our country should make a mistake! That would make them… human! Like us! Oh, the humanity! (Pun so very much intended.)

However, in terms of more real (or at least more pressing) concerns, I’m all for activism. As I said earlier, you can’t change what’s going on if people don’t know about the change! (If you’ve listened to “They” by now, it’s because it’s not true that ignorance is bliss. But neither is paranoia.)

That said, maybe I ought to start campaigning for sanity. Seems a bit of a scarcity at times nowadays.

Everything I ever needed to know started out a lot like this…

Everything I ever needed to know started out a lot like this…

I should hope it’s patently obvious that this person is just having fun, but just in case it isn’t, now you know.

We’ve all felt like this was the explanation for something at one time or another. There seemed to be no particular rhyme or reason to the explanation, and it totally seemed wrong in your head, but the speaker was all, “Trust me; I’m a professional.” Well, the going joke among my science friends (as I’m sure it is at universities everywhere) is that they call it a B.S. for a reason. I mean, at the end of the day, a lot of what we think we know is just really, really well-educated guesses based on years of observation and experimentation, and we just haven’t pushed the right, or rather, wrong buttons yet. Or rather, if there are any wrong buttons, and there may very well not be, we haven’t pushed them yet because out of a set of a googol or so buttons, finding the one that doesn’t behave as expected is well beyond Herculean in terms of tasks.

Yes, there are irrefutable facts in this world, and math is a lot of how we understand these things. Math, at its core, is immutable. But some of the fields that use it aren’t yet because as much as we know, we also know that there’s some part of it that we don’t know because we haven’t been able to explore it yet. Current theory seems to cover everything we’ve discovered so far pretty well, though. However, I get the feeling that a lot of people don’t really get what a theory is in scientific terms. It’s basically one step down from God’s own truth, if I’m putting it in layman’s terms. As Wikipedia puts it (which is accurate, and better than what my sleep-deprived brain can come up with right now): “In modern science, the term “theory” refers to scientific theories, a well-confirmed type of explanation of nature, made in a way consistent with scientific method, and fulfilling the criteria required by modern science. Such theories are described in such a way that any scientist in the field is in a position to understand and either provide empirical support (“verify”) or empirically contradict (“falsify”) it. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge, in contrast to more common uses of the word “theory” that imply that something is unproven or speculative (which is better defined by the word ‘hypothesis’). Scientific theories are also distinguished from hypotheses, which are individual empirically testable conjectures, and scientific laws, which are descriptive accounts of how nature will behave under certain conditions.”

This, my ducks, is why I was absolutely pissed when the 2011 Miss America contestant from my home state decried teaching evolution in schools because “we kinda want to stay away from little theories … I believe in the truth and the truth only”. (And this is where my roommate will jump in and tell you that it’s okay for definitions to have multiple definitions, even when they contradict each other. Considering how important it is to know the difference here, though…) Okay, so, in that case, we definitely shouldn’t talk about relativity, gravity or a lot of other things that we take as truth simply because we haven’t seen proof that we’re wrong yet. Good to know. None of these things are just “little theories”. (Side note—I am aware that some parts of evolution are rather more shaky at least in people’s minds because, let’s face it, it’s hard to test a process that takes that much time in such a way that it can produce results in a reasonable amount of time. However, I think we can all at least agree that there is pretty strong evidence that micro-evolution has occurred and continues to do so.) We might not fully understand them yet, and we may never fully understand them, but that doesn’t mean they hold no weight.

Unlike this explanation for how algebra works.

Just because I’m X doesn’t mean I Y or can’t Z

I don’t know why I remembered this recently, but I did, and… snowball.

In high school, I worked at an after-school childcare program. My boss had run the program since I was three, and she’d watched me grow up, so I was kind of grandfathered in. (That’s not to say I was bad at it—it’s how I got a lot of stable babysitting jobs.) Her son, who was about ten years my senior, also worked there. He was fairly nice, but a little quiet. No. This is not going where you think it is. In fact, it’s about to go exactly the opposite.

A few days after I turned 18, I was talking about the low-key party I’d had (hanging out on the beach with friends and then scarfing down a neon pink and green cake at my house), and the first thing out of this guy’s mouth was: “You’re 18? Now you can model as a centerfold!”

It took me a second to realize what he’d said. During that time, he got a pretty good dressing-down by his mom. I think most of that was motivated by me being a “good” girl who would not in a million years pose for Playboy. “Good” is, of course, a subjective term, but whether or not I am, I’d never pose. Just not something I ever want to do. Given my body type, I doubt they’d have me, anyway. So, everyone’s happy there.

But really, is that the first thing people think when they hear someone’s turning 18? Yeah, there are a lot of “legal adult” things that being 18 entails, but why zero in on objectifying women? I suspect the guy was joking, but why not joke about cigarettes or how I don’t know how the election system works and I’d probably just write myself in for every slot? None of these are things I’d do, so I guess that sort of puts them on fair ground, and I guess it could be considered a compliment if he really thought I’d pose. But then, it’s also a huge knock if it’s “Hurr hurr… You’re such a fatty and they’d never use you.” (I was quite overweight at that point, so this is not outside the realm of possibility.)

I’m probably making far more out of this than he ever meant. It was probably just a harmless joke, but it still rankles a little. It’s an implication that that’s what I’m there for: to be looked at and enjoyed. Like my brain is suddenly of no use to me unless I’m thinking how to do some sort of sexy pose (which I’d be horrible at), or put on makeup (which I rarely wear), or how tight/high my skirt should be (not a fan of micro-minis, but that’s just me).

Let me be clear: the girls who choose to model for Playboy aren’t doing anything wrong in my eyes. As long as it’s their choice, and as long as they’re okay with it, that’s fine. I don’t think I’m better than them—I just don’t want to be known as a sex object. But I can’t say that other women shouldn’t—I can’t make that choice for them. What I can say is that it’s not flattering to every woman to be looked at like that, so think before you objectify. If you think someone is hot, great! But there’s a time and a place to express that.

This guy’s friend, who also worked there for a year, was even worse. He was clearly misogynistic, and I got into verbal fights with him more than once about what girls can and can’t do. Apparently, for no other reason than that I’m female, he believed (and probably still does) that I didn’t know how to jump a dead car battery. I could do this at the age of ten. It’s not hard at all. A car battery is pretty obvious, and it’s even color-coded for your convenience! I’ve had to teach others (mostly women, but also a guy or two) how to do it, and every single person has had no trouble with it. (As a side note, I can also change a car’s tires and oil, and each of these was met with equal disbelief. What’s next? I can’t pump gas?)

It’s hard to define a line in these cases. What’s okay to assume, and what isn’t? Well, ideally, we wouldn’t make assumptions at all. But, because we do, there’s gotta be some line separating appropriate from inappropriate. For instance, you generally don’t walk up to a stranger on the street and tell them you want them in your bed five minutes ago. You also wouldn’t assume a woman knows how to cook, or that any man can change the oil on your car. Not everyone knows everything—I hope that’s obvious—and not everyone knows what people of their gender are “supposed” to know. Honestly, I have no idea how one applies eyeliner. I’ve seen it done. I get the theory. But I can’t actually do it. I am also not incredibly good at sewing, and God forbid I need to use a sewing machine. Um, halp?

Of course, a lot of people know things that their gender “isn’t supposed” to know. I know my way around cars. I know guys who are good at braiding hair and cooking and cleaning. There are men out there who *GASP!* teach elementary school.

This world we live in can’t be defined by strict gender roles. Yes, only biological women can carry and birth babies, and it takes one of each biological gender to make a baby. And that’s about it. Women can program, men can be nurses, and we can all just get along. Women aren’t property or objects—they’re allowed the same desires as men, including the desire to just be left alone sometimes. I’m probably preaching to the proverbial choir, here, but if that’s the case, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

Mini-Rants, week of January 30th – February 5th

So, homework ate my weekend. Seriously, I spent 18 hours on an assignment that, all told, really needed only about 2 or 3 hours worth of tweaks, because I was using the wrong metric. Never again. So, I’ll be posting a bit more frequently over the next few days, starting with this fun little mixed bag of snark.

In response to the “pastor” in this article about not having to tip because she already tithes:

I’m pretty sure it’s as Godly an act to skip out or skimp on tithing in order to help someone pay their bills (granted, I don’t know the waiter’s circumstances), and even more so to go that extra mile when you do tithe 10%. Just sayin’. Also, it was an automatic gratuity.

Follow-up: Apparently, the pastor was ashamed and embarrassed (that she got caught, apparently, and not that she was a complete jerk)… so it makes perfect sense that she asked for everyone involved to be fired, right? Way to make enemies and bring a bad name to your religion, lady. If you don’t want to be embarrassed on the internet, don’t be rude to someone with a smartphone. (Also, being mean right back, no matter how much you think someone deserves it, generally isn’t a good way to keep your job. If you would like to make a joke about it, make that clear, or risk losing your job.)

In response to women planning their weddings years in advance and with no romantic attachment:

Do what you want to do. I’m wishy-washy enough that I’m sure I won’t be able to decide on some things when that time comes for me, and I’m not terribly nitpicky about details. I do think the way this is portrayed creates negativity and the unrealistic view that all of these women are obsessed with getting married ASAP. They just want to have it their way. (Though that’s something I object to; what if the groom—or bride, as I’m sure this can’t be just straight women—wants something in there that you just can’t deal with?)

In response to the guy sending his dog to be euthanized because he thought it was gay (The dog has since been rescued, apparently):

Uh, you do know that dogs (especially unneutered ones—though it’s unclear what this little guy’s status is) hump things, right? Would you turn your dog in if he humped a table? If he humped a lady’s leg? If he humped a guy’s leg? (I’m unfortunately guessing yes on that last one.) Also, you do know that dogs like to romp and you probably just saw it at an inopportune time for the poor dog. Glad you’re no longer his owner.

In response to Tennessee’s reintroduction of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill:

Well, guess you’ve gotta pull artificial insemination, egg donation, and surrogacy off the table, too. That’s not natural human reproduction, either. *eye roll* Also, plenty of straight people get married who don’t intend to/are entirely unable to have kids. Should talking about them not be allowed, as well?

In response to the DJ who kept a woman with Down Syndrome on-air after it was clear she’d called the station as a mistake:

Maybe it’s that I went to schools with kids who have Down Syndrome, but I find the speech pattern of those with Down Syndrome pretty unmistakable, even knowing other kids with plain old speech impediments. Yeah, the speech can be hard to understand, but whether she or anyone else has difficult-to-understand speech, calling it a “game” to try and decipher what they have to say is rude. Honestly, why you would put—let alone keep—on-air someone who called the wrong number and wants to hang up in the first place is beyond me.

In response to an attempt to replace swearing with misogyny at a New Jersey high school (because apparently boys are a hopeless case and need the tenderness of the fairer sex in order to better their behavior):

“It’s unattractive when girls have potty mouths,” noted Nicholas Recarte, 16. A pitcher on the school’s baseball team, Nicholas said he can’t help shouting obscenities from the mound after mishaps. He said he didn’t expect that to change.

While you’re at it, tell the ladies that they totally deserve leers and other harassment! Y’know what—why don’t we just kick ‘em all out of school? They can’t possibly get into trouble if they aren’t educated and never leave their homes! There is a time and a place for swearing, and for a lot of teens, that’s everywhere and all the time because these words are so novel and they haven’t figured out quite how to articulate what they’re feeling in more constructive ways. It happens. They’ll grow out of it without this stupid double-standard being imposed, I promise. (Also, “potty mouths”? Really? Are we seven now, honey? Oh, wait; you openly admit you swear, too!)

In response to people being complete asses because someone cosplays as something they’re not (The writer herself does not seem to do this, but she has been the target of this, and I think she responds to it rather succinctly, but I want to throw in my two snarky bits.):

Welp, girls, we all need to stop “crossplaying” (dressing up as guys, and guys as girls). Also, we can’t dress up as characters other than human. Because cosplaying is all about dressing up as what you are, and not at all about using your imagination to become someone you probably aren’t.

OH WAIT…

On Self-Control and Personal Responsibility

So, apparently, if you’re a female, you can be fired if your male boss is sexually harassing you. (At least, I’ve heard of no cases where the genders have been switched. However, I will have you note that I did not tag this post with “Women” or any variant because this is issue is so much bigger than gender.)

The recent case in Iowa has my gut in knots. According to one article, “Knight feared he would attempt an affair if Nelson stayed around.”

That is complete and utter freakin’ bull. I don’t care what the genders are of the people involved; it is everyone’s own responsibility to keep it in their pants. I don’t care what your excuse is—to say that someone is just too irresistible is absolutely despicable, and is a complete and utter cop-out. If this woman was so attractive, how could other men keep calm around her? If she was dressing so provocatively, why didn’t the dentist just tell her to cover up because it was inappropriate instead of (and by the dentist’s own admission!) saying that “if she saw his pants bulging, she would know her clothing was too revealing”? Oh, and by the way, that last bit is sexual harassment, and don’t you dare tell me otherwise.

So far, no hard evidence has surfaced that the woman who was fired was making inappropriate advances towards the dentist. There are allegations, and certainly, we might not be hearing the whole story just yet, but even so, if someone makes unwanted emotional advances, it’s in the other person’s court whether or not they reciprocate. (Now, if the person makes unwanted physical advances, that is a completely different matter and something that the person being advanced on is in no way responsible for.) In other words, it takes two to tango, and this man definitely would have been guilty of having made a choice in pursuing an affair, no matter the woman’s feelings. Again, I’d be saying the same exact thing if a woman had fired a man for this reason.

Growing up, I was told that we are responsible for our own emotions, and, by extension, our own actions. Sure, there can be dire consequences if we don’t follow orders from those in supervising positions, but nobody can crawl inside your mind and say, “Well, actually, you’re going to do this even though you REALLY don’t want to.”

The truth of the matter is, humans have sexual desires, and, a lot of the time, we’re made to feel like we’re no better than dirt for it. But, when you think about it, that’s how the human race survives. It’s something that we’re programmed to do. That does NOT make dishonoring a commitment you have made at all an okay thing to do. We have the drive to reproduce (and to experience pleasure in general), but if we truly are capable of “higher thought”, we are definitely capable of holding ourselves back. Again, we cannot blame other people for our desire for them, especially when they do not reciprocate.

Now, if it turns out that the woman was pursuing the dentist, that makes her firing a little easier to bear. She, too, has had the choice of whether or not to engage in inappropriate conduct, but even so, that still by no means excuses the dentist’s behavior. Personal responsibility is not encouraged enough, and while there are obvious reasons why this is the case, it’s sad that the integrity of many is so often eroded by the mistakes (or even the deliberately wrong actions) of a few, especially as it pertains to sexuality. Having the capability to do something does not mean you have the responsibility to do it, especially when it interferes with another’s livelihood.

I’m not perfect. I will openly admit I’m pretty good at making mistakes. But I do take responsibility for them, and I try to do better. And when I do better, I feel better. Maybe I don’t feel great until then, but I’d say that learning and growing leads to far better experiences than shirking and blaming.

WHAT is required to fix a computer? Apparently, not women… (a rant)

Note: Due to the name of this article, it’s linked at the bottom, lest anyone be grossed out or otherwise offended by the naming of more select parts of the male anatomy. Also, there are a couple of swears (3 total, I think) in here–you have been forewarned.

“This is another “without fail” story. And if you’re a woman who speaks that binary computer mumbo dot jumbo, spare me. Go fix a good pot roast or something; then we’ll talk.”

Yup. Taken, verbatim, from the article.

Hi there. I’m a woman. I speak that binary computer mumbo dot jumbo. It’s what I want to learn. I can also cook/bake like nobody’s business, so, Kathe Skinner, there is no way in hell that I am going to spare you anything.

First off, I believe you’re not a stupid woman. (Well, generally not stupid–posting an article that demeans your own gender as not having that je ne sais quoi that it takes to fix computers, however, makes me question that juuuuust a little bit, though.) You don’t have to be stupid to not be of the mechanically-inclined persuasion. You wanna know who’s also living proof of that? My dad. Yup. My dad. One of the least tech-savvy people I know, and I love him for it. He admits he doesn’t have the know-how. So, guess who his go-to person is when he does need help with computers? My mom. She can trouble shoot just about anything that will commonly pop up, and when she can’t, she… Looks it up! Oh, wonder of wonders; this magical thing called the internet actually has helpful stuff on it?! Since when?

My mother never studied any computer-related field, either. All she knows, she’s bothered to learn over the years because it makes her life that much easier. And she’s far more patient and involved than most IT people I’ve had to deal with. Oh, and she also makes some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. This not only includes pot roast, but also a variety of other dishes, some far more complex than something anyone can chuck in a crock pot or oven for a few hours. Yeah. I just went there.

As for me? I chose to go into computer science. As a major, and, in just a few short months, a career. For real. I apparently impressed the company I interned with so much that my manager told me the day he made his hiring decision that I was in. Yeah, I worked on an all-male team of software development engineers, and I got in. And I have many female friends in the major in the same boat. (Many of them are excellent cooks, fashionistas, and masters of other more traditionally “womanly” arts, by the way. And yes, I will keep bringing this up because you seem to think the two completely incompatible.)

Another example from my soon-to-be-(re-)employer: the amazing IT lady who fixed my laptop on the first day of my internship. Really, I walked in, she had me barely describe the problem, and then, wonder of all wonders, without even looking up the problem, she fixed it in about 2 minutes. Like magic, I tell ya! And then, she did the unthinkable: she actually let me in on how to fix it so that, should this ever happen again, I could take care of it myself! I wonder if that’s ever even crossed your mind, to ask your husband, “Hey, can you walk me through that?” and then, as he does, write down the steps. Saves a lot of time, and a lot of hassle for him. Or, better yet, have him explain as he has you work through the problem, yourself. This is actually what my dad insists upon, and has, surprisingly, been proven to help learning. (I know–who’d’ve thought it?)

Suffice it to say, I come from a family of strong women in every sense. Some are engineers, some are not, but all of ’em make damn good food. They are also beautifully feminine women, which I add since I’m sure you’re imagining that the engineers all muck about in ripped jeans and holey sweatshirts all day. They have shown me that being a woman does not limit my capabilities or options in any way, saving those where being biologically male is an absolute requirement. In this case, one does not need a y-chromosome to fix computers. (Side note: if you’d do a little reading up, you’d know that both men AND women have testosterone. Guys just happen to have more of it.)

Shame on you for saying that having a penis does the trick. Were that true, I’d bring my computer over to my cousin’s 18-month-old son every time it broke, for surely, he has the anatomy that I, a woman, do not, so he must therefore know what I could not possibly fathom! Shame on you for implying that women just aren’t mechanically inclined, and that guys are. While I can see where you’d make this assumption, I have plenty of examples very much to the contrary. Shame on you for saying outright that women must be good at one or the other, but can’t possibly be good at both. Shame on you for basically telling women out there that their positions as engineers, techs, programmers and the like don’t matter because we aren’t male and therefore can’t know. Some of us (myself included) have had to overcome not only your attitude, but not having a natural inclination towards our fields, which, by the way, if I haven’t said it enough, has JACK SHIT to do with our biological gender. Though I hate myself for it, however, I will also thank you because it is people like you who make me even more determined every day to push past all this crap and make something of myself in the field I want to be in, rather than settling for something that I would not be nearly as content with.

(I am not saying, by the way, that all women should drop whatever they’re doing and go for computers, by the way. They–and everyone, for that matter–should study what moves them, no matter whose nasty attitudes and stupid misconceptions and prejudices get in the way.)

An after-school program director loves to quote me as saying that nerds retire better–something I said when I was, oh, 12 or 13. You want to know who I snapped that back at? Someone who told me girls just don’t do this sort of stuff. These times, they be a-changin’, and, for your sake, I hope that any female engineers you may encounter set you straight.

And for my sake, and the sake of all women in computing-related fields, I hope attitudes like this become far less prevalent, especially among women. After all, if we cannot get support from within, how can we hope to achieve support from without?

The link to this… thing.