Girly Geek Guilt

I’ve been in denial for a bit, but ok…fine: I’m a geek.

A total GEEK.

The blogging, the second life, the betas, the twitter.

It’s really NOT the core of who I am it is simply the tools I use to mouth off. So really, I’m just loud and using tech to be LOUDER.

By default that means I see and hear a lot of crap about that whole ‘girls don’t like science and tech’ bullshit that flies around our lives. I’ve seen the many, many, many examples of the very FEW number of women speaking at tech conferences. I’ve heard the arguments that we’re ignored and I’ve heard the arguments that we don’t pitch ourselves like the boys do.

I’ve found myself on BOTH sides of this debate wondering if it was maybe a little of both, a conspiracy by the patriarchy, and a lack of interest by women.

Nothing prepared me for reality.

Photos from the birthday party for my 5-year old and 3-year old this weekend.

Behold as this feminist geek gets to the bottom of what is really going on:

Galileo vs. Paris Hilton

I think that’s what the boys call-Epic Fail

It is not that I fault the gifts. They are exactly what my children wanted. It was that I realized how their preferences were splitting directly down those stereotyped gender lines.

It made me angry.

So let us all just put an end to what is going on in our tech/social media/web world when it comes to gender: It is all my fault.

Taking my pink laptop and going to bed.


  1. I often wonder what kinds of gifts my son would get – if I had a son. As things stand now (one month post-youngest girlchild’s birthday) I have a burning desire to take all her Bratz paraphernalia and bury it in the yard. Did you know they manufactured a Baby Bratz doll with a thong? Really. Butt floss. My girl does NOT need to be exposed to that right now.

    Telescopes, on the other hand, are rad.

  2. A bravely trans’parent’ post, pun intended. I’ll continue to read your stuff, it’s so important to me as well to explore gender issues in the tech field. I’m a product manager in Boulder for a tech company and it’s weird to always be outnumbered in every work and tech-related room I go into! (Unless it’s a marketing firm). Thanks for this post, looking forward to more.

  3. Don’t know, but there seem to be a lot more women in the tech field in our country. I guess it’s because it’s considered perfectly respectable for women, by the men! Besides, especially in South India, being mathematical is considered to be the ultimate, whatever your gender.

  4. As a card-carrying Macworld reading, Sci-Fi channel loving geek girl whose tagline at various message boards reads “will beta test for food,” I guarantee you there is hope. I was all about Barbie until about age twelve (okay, I liked to “modify” them) before I embraced my geekery.

  5. Don’t worry, your geekiness will be a good example for both of your kids! I just can’t figure out how you twitter so much!! How can you possibly follow that many people?

  6. As a girl in science and tech (engineering degree), I definitely experienced the divide first-hand. I had classes where I was the only girl.

    I think the fact that we use technology heavily in the home and that I’m keen on math & science will help my daughter to become more interested. I just have to be sure to encourage her path – whatever it may be. 🙂

  7. When I was younger I asked for (and got) on different gifty occasions: chemistry set, telescope, star charts, maps of the universe books and various model rocket kits.

    Honestly, when I try to buy for my niece (who loves Disney Princess merchandise), I feel “wrong.” I know she’s the “normal” one, but I still feel like I’m doing something wrong.

    In the end, I’m glad I have The Boy. Not sure what I’d do with a girl…

  8. I’ve been in a predominantly mans world for over 29 years.When I went to conferences there would be over 500 men and 2 or three women. They always thought we must be there for their needs. Hah…..anyway..I’m among the best, and I played with dolls and make believe while growing up. Still I ended up with an edge and a desire to succeed. Don’t worry while your kids are young give them strong values and teach them they can be anything they want…even president….and let them play while they can…. real life gets there too quickly..

    Try to get some sleep….

    Dorothy from grammology
    remember to call gram

  9. This was too cool Loved your last line! Girly Geeks are awesomesauce. Lucky for me I didn’t grow up with a lot of girly things.

  10. But the boy loved udders – that’s pretty cool.

    When I was about 10, my brother gave me this case for Christmas that had “Scientique” printed on the outside of it. I was so excited because I thought it was a science kit. Imagine my disappointment when it actually read “Scentique” and was a perfume sampler.

    I came out not girly. Among my sisters, I would say 2 were girly 2 weren’t. It’s kind of the luck of the draw.

  11. I love science.LOVE IT. (enough to merit the all caps) My daughter is just three, but so far she seems interested. But at the same time, she definitely delves into the super girly. I wish Barbie would come out with a science Barbie line or pink microscopes.

  12. Jo MacD says:

    I feel your pain. My little ones turn 3 and 5 later this year, and I watch my big boy ‘shooting’ at his friends with stick ‘guns’ and my little girl pushing her teddy in the toy stroller (that was actually a gift to her brother which he has ignored and she loves) and just shake my head.
    I spent my 70’s childhood in jeans and t-shirts playing with construction sets and microscopes, and when my biggest girl refused to only wear dresses from 2yo to 5yo, I felt like ordering a DNA test.
    I reckon all we can do is turn off the more gender-divided tv shows, banish the sexy clothes, and let them express whatever’s going on in their little heads.
    My Mum still can’t believe I’m married with three kids 😉

  13. Great post, something I think about a lot as the single mother to a boy. He’s almost three and is already identifying objects and people in gender-specific roles. We had a conversation last night about how cars are not just for boys.

    My challenge is to teach my boy that he can embrace “girl” things and that girls and women are smart, capable, and able to tackle any career path (and like cars).

    Also, I’m the Aunt who refuses to buy Bratz for my nieces. I just can’t get myself to buy them. I’m okay with buying them science experiment kits, they usually have more fun with them anyway!

  14. This is why I’m a bit glad not to have a girl. As much as I would love a daughter, I know that the commercialized pink and frilly stuff would make my head explode.

  15. I want a pink laptop…

    Just because it is a stereo-type doesn’t make it wrong. I have learned that some things are just boy things now that I have three. And I can’t (figuratively for the most part) beat it out of them.

  16. Meh.
    Only so much you can do about how we’re programmed.

Speak Your Mind