RE: IT screen goddesses
I was really in a doubt on whether I should send to the list my thoughts about
this kind of projects. I really don't want to get into a flame about this.
First of all, I have to say that I fully respect the freedom of everybody to
start, promote or join any project like this, I think the most important thing
we have is that we're free to do whatever we like, including this. The freedom
to go away from stereotypes does not include the obligation to do so.
I think there's something in the air that constantly forces us to prove that,
even if we're geeks, IT workers or whatever, we're as women as anyone else.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there's anything different in us from other
girls, but I'm putting the emphasis in the fact that we're constantly trying
to prove it.
So, the point there is trying to show the world that IT girls are as girls as
the rest, meaning we're not aliens or something like that. Now, it would be
nice to think a bit about what we understand by this. For that, it makes sense
to ask ourselves and the world what we/they understand as being a girl, and
how can "being a girl as the others" be proven.
It's quite relevant that every attempt I know for proving that, always falls
into showing that we fit the expected stereotypes for women. Trying to show
that, even when it might not be typical for a girl to be interested in
computers, we fit the rest of the stereotype enough to be considered "normal
Lets go a bit ahead in this. What's expected from a women in the culture we
live in? (Feel free to correct me if your culture doesn't match mine, as we're
in a multicultural environment, it might be different for other girls. In
order to clarify my situation, I'm a Spanish girl, that is Southern Europe,
living in a conventional occidental cultural environment).
The most important thing that is expected from us is being pretty. Like it or
not, that's what our parents usually expect from us, what most of the people
surrounding us expects, and what we usually expect from ourselves. Even being
able to get over this expectation ourselves requires a lot of inner work.
So, in my opinion, what this kind of projects achieve is showing the world
that we agree with the stereotype.
Being pretty, as all of us know, requires time and effort invested in it. It's
not the result of an passive action, but an active one. Investing time and
resources in being pretty reveals that it's one of our priorities. So, by
showing how pretty we are, we're showing the world that being pretty is one of
our priorities, as it is expected from the gender stereotype in which we are
Beyond that, there are more messages transmitted in a project like this. Apart
from being pretty, we're expected to be "good girls", like being sweet,
obedient and all that stuff. There is also a subtle message being sent, saying
that we don't question the stereotype, that we're not revolutionary or rebels.
That we're "good girls", and that even when computers might be our hobby, it's
in a second place, and "being a woman" and being accepted as "normal women"
are more important than that. We accept the stereotype.
I'm finally going to the content of the photos . It's well known that
there's a difference in the way men and women appear in the screen, mainly in
publicity. Women often appear "to be seen", depending on the observer beyond
the camera. Men usually appear in a more independent actitude. The photos also
follow the stereotype in this, quite logically, as they're really copying
what's already in the media.
To sum up, the photos are technically very good, they're elegant and nice to
see, the models are pretty, and the calendar proves that IT girls are "normal
girls". I totally defend their right to do so, and I'm happy that there's
diversity enough that some of the IT girls decide they want to appear sexy in
the calendar photos. The problem is that I don't like the message the calendar
sends to the world. This isn't helping at all in reducing the sexism in IT
world, nor helping in the world accepting our freedom to choose. It just
reinforces the stereotypes.
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