Daring to Code
Code is music. The allegro march of my fingers across the alphabet, the interim pause when I press backspace, and the staccato of hitting the lone enter key when I finish a thought, are all pieces of my vocabulary. This is my chosen language, yet I am unsure I can identify with this community. I was drawn to the promise of technology that offered a world where men and women sit together, coding as equals. However, when I embrace my feminine identity, I realize that men and women are not treated the same even in the egalitarian tech industry. I refuse to allow gender bias to hold me back; I am a girl who can code and that is my identity, culture, and community.
Upon entering my first high school computer science class, my floral-patterned dress stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the sea of gray sweatpants and baggy sweatshirts. Gender no longer existed as people seemed to just follow the same “look.” Like the other females in class, I reluctantly conformed to the sea of gray in fear of dismissive reactions from my male counterparts to be “taken seriously.” Soon, I decided to challenge this “look” by embracing feminine styles-eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss-to show my true self. However, my opposition had its ramifications. Apparently, wearing lip gloss warranted some men to be more dismissive of my contributions. I asked myself, “Does wearing florals interfere with my understanding of proper coding standards? How does lip gloss hinder my ability to write code?” I became bolder. I frequently contributed my unique talent, and yes, wore lip gloss. Eventually, my detractors saw the absurdity in trying to diminish the value of my skill set. I am a girl who can code and I am not afraid to speak my mind.
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