I’ve thought about writing this entry several times over the past few years. Each time, I decided against it because I’m aware that there are plenty of women out there who have it far worse than I do. Women who have to work for minimum wage to support their kids. Women who have to deal with sexist comments or sexual harassment in the workplace. For the most part, though, I don’t have the deal with these problems.
However, I do have to deal with being a woman in a male-oriented vocation. I have to deal with insinuations and presumptions. I have to deal with the idea that I couldn’t possibly be a successful woman in IT because only men code, and only men play with computers. And it pretty much sucks most of the time.
It started when I was in college. Second year of my course I was the only girl in my class, putting up with sexism from both fellow students and the staff. I had to listen the female lecturers put themselves down in front of students because “teehee, [they’re] just a girl”.
When I got my first proper job as an IT technician for a local school, I was put down in front of colleagues and students on my first day. A male teacher, clearly feeling oh so superior despite being in such a position that he needed to ask for help, told me that he didn’t want my help, and that he wanted the help of a real technician (indicating to my male colleague).
And of course, yesterday’s hastily posted rant, which received feedback and criticism from Hacker News, reddit, and stumbleupon. Again, however, my opinions much attributed to “him” and “his”.
These examples are just the cream of the crop. I could mention the subtle digs I get on a regular basis; the stereotypical bullshit you read on the likes of digg and reddit from men who’ve act like they’ve only just reached puberty; the inane articles like “What Women Want”, “How to Please Your Woman” etc, but why bother? One stupid remark is one too many.
I have breasts. I have long hair, and big fluttery eyelashes. I have a pair of boots with heels, and I buy cute bags. I bleed from my fucking vagina for a week out every month. I am a woman. It just so happens that I’m a woman who can code, who writes PHP scripts, who likes to dabble with CSS and HTML. I’m a woman that pokes old hardware, who games on the weekend and has an opinion about almost everything. If you cannot bring yourself to double check before making assumptions about my gender; if you cannot respect the fact that it’s not just men in IT, don’t be surprised the next time I tell you to stick your “his” or “him” up your arse.