Can you be girly and be techie?

Should you?  I’m going to get in all kinds of hot water for bringing this up, but I’m going to anyway.  There’s a conversation elsewhere on the web about tech-oriented events that, say, include fashion advice or manicures.  Many, many years ago, I attended a BlogHer event that went awry on that front.  This is Twitter-like, pre-Twitter post about that.  For the record, I do think it’s a bad idea for events to go to standard feminine stereotypes for their agenda.  Women get enough of that elsewhere (and then some).

However, there is a sense in the CS/Tech world that in order to participate, you have to “be one of the guys.”  There’ll be no lipstick or heels in this field, thank you very much.  If you haven’t ever seen me, you might not know that I tend toward the girly on many fronts.  I like heels and “girly” clothes.  I like makeup.  I like flowery things.  But I can go with jeans and a t-shirt and watch all the Star Trek movies in one sitting.  I’m not just one way or another.

Just as we shouldn’t exclude people based on gender, we also shouldn’t exclude people based on their expression of that gender.  Gender, fwiw, is on a spectrum, to use CS terminology, it’s not just a 0 or a 1.  It’s everything in between, which is, of course infinite.   So that means accepting lots of different ways gender gets expressed. It also means not making assumptions about what a specific gender might want.  Because gender is not that simple.

So, yes, be girly and techie.  Or be whatever and be techie.  Quit viewing the world in binary and view it at least in 8-bit, maybe 16.  Really, it will expand how you see things.

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