One of the things I’ve always struggled with as a woman in a field where girls are rare (entomology) is just how girly I should be.
Now, anyone who’s actually met me is probably thinking this isn’t much of a struggle–I mean, I do have 3 times the number of power tools than the average guy, and I am seen in a dress about 2 times per year: once when I have my annual audience with the University Provost, and one other time when I get way behind on laundry and have no pants.
I also haven’t had long fingernails since 1968, and last had makeup on in….um.
Wait, I put eyeliner on for the The Amazing Meeting in 2005. Once.
There you go.
There was an interesting discussion on Kathy Sierra’s blog about how all the t-shirts given out at tech conferences tend to be baggy, shapeless affairs. Her complaint was (wildly paraphrased!) that as geek girls in the tech industry, we want something to show our hotness. If you look at her two photos, you can definitely see the difference.
Kathy’s blog is, (to digress briefly) one of the BEST design/usability blogs out there. She always makes me think in new ways and helps me make my web design better. Her post complaining about t-shirts that hide the fact that she has breasts surprised me–because I never questioned the giant t-shirts I got at conferences–and then made me really think.
Technology/IT/programming is still an area, like entomology, where women are in the minority. Things are getting better in both fields, but still….
How tight should a t-shirt be? If I’m at a professional conference, do I want to look like a slob in a giant t-shirt? Or, as in the photo above, a relative of Chesty Morgan? I guarantee you that if I wore that shirt I have on in the photo to a meeting, no one would look above my neck.
I love thinkgeek, but none of their “ladies” t-shirts fit me, since my boobs are too big. (Ok, they do fit me, but so tightly it tends to be very distracting for those around me.) I’ve always just been happy to hide in my big bag of branded swag at conferences.
I want to hide the fact that I have boobs when I’m at work. I don’t want to be sexy–I want to be…neutral. This may just be an artifact from going through school as a 40DD. Certainly, I have terrible posture from slumping to hide the excess boobage.
As a professor, I often have to explain to students that the clothing that they wear to class is
too slutty Not Appropriate for interviews and work. You don’t show up in a mini-skirt, boots, a pink thong, and ponytails for an interview with PriceWaterhouse. You just don’t. At least, not if it’s for employment lasting longer than one hour.
I wish that I had the confidence to let it all hang out (sometimes literally) that my younger students do. I see proudly displayed muffin-tops daily. Am I just an old fogey? What should the role of sexuality in the workplace be?
Should women be forced to dress androgynously because guys can’t stop drooling over their mammaries? Or should we just say “deal with it!” and be our fabulous selves?
I predict this discussion will take us right through Hanaukwansasmas/Decemberween. :)