Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Going Gaga Over Gaga

Having been overweight my entire life  (sometimes slightly, sometimes morbidly) it's no surprise to me that fat is unacceptable.  What does come as a surprise, is how crazy acceptance of people can be.

Recently, Lady Gaga came out as having been anorexic/bulimic for the majority of her life.  For that, she's accumulating much support over the Twittersphere and throughout other forms of social media.  This comes after a large amount of criticism over her 25 pound weight gain.

It shocks me that a lady who has been adored for her Caution-Tape swimsuits, Kermit Coat, and  Meat Gown would suddenly fall out of favor after a couple of months of eating at her father's Italian restaurant.  It's as if the public is saying "You're great just the way you long as you're not fat."  What's more, their reaction to her bulimia bombshell seems to say "We support you in your food issues, as long as they threaten to kill you from being too skinny, rather than too fat."

None of this is news to me.  I've been in awe this way before.  This lesson goes back to my days in Second Life.  Back when I was a super-fat housewife, I used to spend a lot of time in that virtual world. It struck me that everyone was so accepting of all of the various avatars.  We had extremely popular admins who were furries, robots, aliens, monsters, zombies, and vampires.  We had huge parties surrounding pirates, emos, goths and Slime-heaps.  Amazingly, it didn't matter what you were in Second Life, you would be embraced...unless you were a fat woman.  That's right.  Obese male avatars were never questioned, but obese females were avoided, chastised and ridiculed.  If you add a couple of "pounds" to your female avatar's waist slider, suddenly you're interrogated with such gems as "Why don't you just make your middle a little smaller?" or "You know you can make yourself taller, right?" and "Why would you come to a virtual world and make yourself fat??"

I recognize that being overweight is unhealthy.  I know that striving for exercise and good eating habits are the best practice, but I don't think I'll ever get over the Zombie > Slime-Heap > Meat Dress > Overweight Woman hierarchy.

Monday, September 17, 2012

You Couldn't Pay Me to be This Awesome

Recently, as part of my appointment to FabFems, I was charged with writing my own bio.  Now, if you've never had to do this, you may not know what a traumatic experience it can be.  You see, the key to a good bio is making sure you hit on every good thing you have ever done, without mentioning any of the logical steps that brought that gloriousness to pass.

The terror in this, comes from knowing that you are supposed to be writing from a third-person point of view.  That means that you are crafting a beautiful story about yourself, as if you have no idea how many times you fell flat on your face before you learned enough to teach undergraduates.  You write as if you are someone who doesn't know that you spent your life-savings creating a non-profit that will ultimately never pay as much as a corporate position.  You wax poetic about your role in an event that is still months in the future without hinting that there is any uncertainty in its outcome.  Worst of all, you do this knowing that anyone else who has ever written a bio will be aware that they're reading a sugary illusion, which you wrote yourself!

Don't get me wrong, science has proven that I'm pretty darn cool.  Directly out of school with my master's in computer science, I have an appointment teaching web development to undergrads, I am the Executive Director of Thinkersmith, a non-profit that teaches computer science to elementary school students all over the area, and I'm working on two national campaigns to encourage equity in STEM fields (FabFems and Picture Me in Computing.) I've created a game which helps to develop computational thinking skills, I have begun planning/fundraising on the first ever Oregon STEM Festival and still manage to feed, clothe, and entertain my two little boys.

In the previous year, I have been offered no less than ten jobs.  The majority of the time, my answer is "You can't afford me."  Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm a pretentious elitist.  Quite the opposite.  No amount of money could entice me from what I am doing right now. In fact, the reason that my salary doesn't compare to that of my peers (male OR female, thank you very much) is that I'm following my heart.  I'm working positions that pay me a fraction of what my cohorts make because I'm blazing trails in an effort to make life better for the generations who will come after me.

Meanwhile, with no savings or love-life to speak of, the only things about me that are impressive are the items I list in my overly dramatized bio...and I'm perfectly okay with that.  For now ;)