To Whom it May Concern

To Whom it May Concern,

I am a woman who is an IT professional and you may have noticed that there is a lot of focus on women in the IT field right now. But I did not get my job because I am a woman and I do not think I get preferential treatment, in fact I think the opposite. I think that too often I have to prove that I’m smart, but not get pegged as a know-it-all; that I have good ideas, and not get called bossy; that I am the person to present an idea because I am articulate, not because I can work my magic on them.

Most days I don’t notice that I’m a woman in my workplace, I’m just happy to be a woman and unhappy to be at work, I’m kidding of course! Actually I am because I love where I work. But seriously, from my personal experience, the hardest part about all of the attention on women in the technology field right now is that my male colleagues think we are getting preferential treatment and being hired for jobs that we’re not qualified for, positions that they should of course be getting. I have had this said to me multiple times by male colleagues that I respect.

For the record, I think unqualified people get hired all the time, whether they’re male or female. Do I think there is a push to get more female applicants? Yes, definitely. But do I think they’re preferentially getting hired? No, I don’t.

So then, are you getting uncomfortable with seeing more women co-workers? Why do you think that women are getting preferentially hired? Is it because you are seeing more women in IT positions? Maybe even leadership IT positions?

Breaking this down a bit more. Why don’t you think we are seeing more women in IT positions because more women are applying to them than ever before? Why don’t you think it’s because statistically, more women are entering the IT field? Why don’t you think that the female candidate that got hired is actually more qualified for the position then all of the other applicants? And furthermore, why do women still make less than men on average? Why do we still make up far less than half of the total IT workforce?

These are the questions that bother me, that is the tone that offends me, and now I’ve been able to articulate why, because honestly, when you first brought it up I just thought, what a dumb thing to say to me. But you wanted me to explain so there you go.

Sincerely,
Me

My first Op Ed that no one published

From September 2013:

A strange and disturbing trend permeates headlines after choosing “Women” as a favorite category in Huffington Post. Articles about weight, sex, breakups, and shopping keep popping up in my main headlines. It might just be me, it might be that it’s 6am, but I think I’m insulted.

Don’t get me wrong, there are also riveting articles in the Women’s section of Huffington Post, I often retweet them to my women’s group. But predominantly from my front page: Does every breakup have a silver lining, Three signs he’s not really sorry, Four secrets to a perfectly imperfect marriage, Adult film star explains sex, Four signs he’s not the one; anyone annoyed yet? These are the articles currently highlighted on my Front Page because I selected “Women”. If I go to the actual Women’s section though, and scroll, buried are the more enthralling articles about women’s issues. So why are articles about sex in a Women’s section? Last I heard men have sex too. I think this perpetuates the belief that women are the ones who need to get better at sex, try harder, keep their partner.

Not too veer too far off my main point, but all of these articles about sex and relationships also contain the assumption that women are in heterosexual relationships, or maybe it’s just if there isn’t a man in the equation then we don’t need help in bed? I am confused.

I am newly embracing feminism, though I have always considered myself a feminist, there seems only recently (to me anyway) to be a resurgence of the movement that is not as critical, not as isolating, not as cookie cutter. I can like pink and be a feminist, can’t I? I am a woman and a girl, OK? And I can be a pink-liking girl and still be mad at dumbed down articles catering to stereotypes, the ones we are working so hard to obliterate, aren’t we?

But getting back to my disappointment in Huffington Post, and please remember I have yet to drink my tea—Huffington Post, these are not women’s stories. They should be under a Life section, or a Relationship section, maybe a Shopping section or Sex section; I can help if you need more ideas. How can we ask society to change its behavior when the same old stereotypes are being perpetuated?

I am riding the wave of the Lean In movement and enjoying the debate, conversation, and different points of view. It’s making me think, at times it’s making me angry, it’s making me question, and mostly, it’s making me happy to be a woman. But Huffington Post, your Women’s section is not doing us any favors, at least the stories that are getting highlighted on the Front Page. Women and men may both be interested in articles about better sex, better shopping and self improvement, but sticking them in a women’s section sends the wrong message, don’t you think?

Soft Elbows

Welcome to my new blog. Anyone that knows me knows I like to write letters, so I am going to have a central location for my letters, essentially ruminations about what I like and don’t like, what bothers me and doesn’t bother me, but mostly about this world of jerks.

Which brings me to soft elbows. Are women supposed to have soft elbows? Why? Why does anyone care what my elbows look like? I was trying on dresses to be a bridesmaid and the kindly woman at the bridal shop informed me that I should start moisturizing my elbows before the event. Really?

This encounter also reminded me of a comment made to me a long long time ago, that you could tell the age of a woman by her elbows. I truly apologize to anyone who has never thought about their elbows until reading this.

So I am here to say that I will not have soft elbows, I couldn’t care less about soft elbows and if you care if I have soft elbows than too bad, I am sorry to disappoint. What really, truly annoys me is that it is yet another thing we women are supposed to be or do, so I will also say here and now, if you are a woman and want to have soft elbows, go for it, I am truly happy and non-judgmental of you. Just stop judging me and my elbows.

I feel better, maybe this blog thing is going to be fun…