Saturday, January 29, 2011

What Would You Choose: Brains or Beauty?

Recently, this little infographic has caused quite the bustle on the internet. Having been called "The Saddest Pink Infographic About Women In Tech You’ll Ever See," controversy is brewing as to whether or not this is the kind of publicity that women in computer science need.

Personally, I think this is fantastic.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not the type to limit girls to dolls and boys to trucks, but I don't see any problem with leveraging a form of entertainment which tweens actively seek out in fashion magazines and online apps.

Let's start, first, with the idea that intelligent women "deserve more than this".  Yes.  That's true. They do.  But they deserve more than this without excluding this.  The big ol' pink infographic to the left is an extremely flattering representation of both mind and overall persona.  Why should a woman be limited to choosing brains or beauty?  The two are not mutually exclusive.  That's a point I've been trying to get across for a very long time!  Why is it an insult to a woman's intelligence to call her beautiful?  Isn't it okay to recognize all of the areas where she's putting in hard work?

Secondly, this infographic is cartoonish and sassy.  There is no point where it tries to pass itself off as indisputable fact.  The steps along the way may be cheeky, but if you don't like one of the options, you won't select it and it won't represent you.  That said, I'm a little offended that if you prefer the Adult Video Network over New York Fashion Week, you're given the hand.  At first glance, it feels like you can't be a computer scientist if you enjoy sex.  After further scrutiny, it becomes obvious that you just can't be one of these 5 highly successful tech women.  I guess we'll have to wait a while to know where I land, but even until then, I'm completely willing to give this card the thumbs-up.

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