Suzanne Venker wants us to surrender to our “nature”, our femininity, so that “marriageable men will come out of the woodwork”.

I ask: Why use the word surrender? And what the hell are we going to do with all these men waiting on hand and knee to marry us anyway?

Oh, how I wanted to avoid reading her article, “the war on men“, on fox *cough cough cough* news. Why ruin a lovely Saturday morning? But since it was only about a page long, and I have a very short attention span for these sorts of nonsense, read it I did.

I don’t have the time nor fuse to do a thorough reading and analysis of the piece. Nor do I wish to research the author more thoroughly. As such, I will simply give my reaction to a few select quotes. You may form your own opinions and arguments as you please. Me, I have better things to do.

Note: the best way to read the following is to insert an explecitive of your choice before every noun. Since this a relatively family/work-friendly blog, I left it out, but feel free to be creative.

“Women aren’t women anymore.”

Excuse me, I’m pretty sure as long as we have the correct body parts which we may do with as we please and/or identify as female, that is woman enough for me.

“All the articles and books (and television programs, for that matter) put women front and center, while men and children sit in the back seat.”

Uh, no. This is just plain incorrect. The percentage of female lead characters (and I mean lead characters, not femme fatales, objects of attraction, love interests) is still relatively small. The percentage of strong female leads, even less.

“Feminism serves men very well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever.”

To make the assumption that men are driven by their d*cks you might as well assume women are driven by their uteruses. Oh wait…

“Not only are they saddled with the consequences of sex, by dismissing male nature they’re forever seeking a balanced life.”

Thanks for saddling us with the consequences of sex. I hope you never saddle anything else of mine.

“Men haven’t changed much – they had no revolution that demanded it – but women have changed dramatically.”

Then perhaps it is time for men to undergo some change: learn to appreciate women who are career driven, independent, and maybe someone you can actually have a intelligent conversation with? And perhaps someone who can actually be your partner and equal?

“In a nutshell, women are angry. They’re also defensive, though often unknowingly. That’s because they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy.”

This quote is the one that gets me the most. DO I SEEM ANGRY TO YOU?!

In all seriousness– maybe women are angry for good reason: maybe anger, like pain, is a necessary evil– because it keeps us driven, and points to the fact that there are real, concrete issues out there to be angry about.

If women are angry, I hope we stay angry until there is no more to be angry about. Better to be angry and passionate for change and justice than passive and content to settle.

And just for the record, I can be damn feminine when I want to. Maybe I just have other priorities.

For an extremely funny and entertaining critique, check out this vid from the colbert report.

Tags: , , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Forgive me for the brevity, typos, and lack of filter: my brain has been wrapped around and fully defeated by Online Mistake-Bound Learning Models and log base 2′s and omega bounds and other uncomprehensible things in the last 48 hours.

Anyway, here’s a nifty little article in the NYtimes reporting a study about how not only were men likely to judge female students as less competent in the scientists, but female professors as well.

Does this really come as any surprise? Pretty sure that if 50% of the world tells you that you are scientifically less suited to a certain way of thinking, which is, by the way, entirely false, it doesn’t take long for the other 50% to view these stereotypes as true. Too sleepy right now to expand on that but my mentor this summer aka Mathbabe wrote a wonderful and far more thought-out piece about the stereotype of women in math. Combine that with traditional concepts of femninity (“pushiness” is a turn-off, confidence is aggressive, to be scientific is to be cold) and you have a pretty surefire way to undermine confidence and perpetuate negative thinking.

Finally, two small anecdotes before I nap:

First, I was in a computer science program this summer with a male:female ratio of students of about 10:1 onsite, and I can tell you firsthand it is very hard to compete with the self-confidence of a 20-something white male, and ergo, very easy to be overcome by self-doubt, especially if you are timid. The entrepreneur is an especially cocky breed. Sorry, that was rude, I hope no one takes offense, and I do love you all. And I apologize for neither my apology nor my statement.

Second anecdote: I was in a study group last night with three other very intelligent, outgoing girls for aforementioned problem set, and somewhere around 2 am and the 10th proof in, the topic came to topic of female attractiveness w.r.t. men (because yes I am a normal college-age girl and not a robot). Anyway, it came as a suprise to me (or maybe not really a suprise) that it was heavily insisted upon that appearing “vunerable” was attractive. While I would probably agree that this is true, it made me slightly sad. Vunerability is of course what makes us human and lovable, but the idea that you might want to appear slightly weaker than you are in order to catch someone’s eye or heart could be potentially dangerous. Deception, of course, is not admirable; yet trying to actually be weaker is more than frightening.

Tags: , , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Now here I was, sitting at home on a lazy summer’s day, full of food and sleep, reading through the NYTimes to find something good and juicy to write about, and thinking maybe, just maybe, that actually none of the articles annoyed me today.

Then aforementioned now ex-roommate Jennifer comes to the rescue (as usual!) with a link to this appalling post. And I smack myself in the forehead now for forgetting: Silicon Valley’s like a gold mine of Sophie-rant material. Put together 99 parts men, one part opinionated woman, and an extremely distorted and sensationalist media, and you have one big recipe for trouble.

Anyway. Apparently 140 Stiches is “dedicated to all you tech nerds who have far more important things to do than care about what the hell you’re going to wear. You were gifted in many ways – fashion sense not one of them. That’s okay, because I have absolutely nothing better to do than tell you smart asses what to wear.” Umm, OFFENSIVE, JUST A LITTLE?

But to cover-up right quick, the author makes sure to clarify that even though she just insulted the pants off your algorithm-loving asses, she’s just one of “the boys”. “If you think I’m just your average fashion obsessed girly girl, think again. I know my fair share about the interwebs and my favorite movie is The Social Network, in which I may or may not know every line.”

Look guys, fashion sites are GREAT. Fashion advice is helpful and fun for those who WANT and need it. But making the bullheaded and unfortunate assumption that all nerds are men and unkept ones at that is not only offensive, it’s, well, sexist. To both sexes!  I am a computer scientist and a nerd, but I also happen to be a fashionable metropolitan woman. And I also happen to like my algorithm-writing, bespectacled companions in their hackathon shirts. At least it shows a preference for intelligence over vanity, which not many people these days seem to have.


Tags: , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·