Showing posts from 2018

STEMinist – The Female Engineer Syndrome

A few months into joining my current company, I got pranked by my work friends with a USB stick that controlled my cursor, making me accidentally archive/delete emails, type words within words, and discard drafts. This prank had been making the rounds since before my time, and everyone had had a different reaction to it; some called IT immediately, while others smelt a rat and found the culprit. My choice of reaction was to spend two whole days updating mouse firmware, rebooting, reinstalling Outlook – basically to try to find what I believed was a genuine problem in my computer on my own – until I finally gave in and called IT. The colleague who pranked me (a friend of mine) christened it the Female Engineer Syndrome.

The Female Engineer Syndrome is, at times, a by-product of the Imposter Syndrome (self-doubt of abilities in one’s own field of expertise), and at other times it is a reaction to others showing doubt in your abilities. At all times it’s a form of defense. 
Female Enginee…

Gender Reveal Parties: Prescriptive gender identity through public ritual and display

Gender reveal parties are the latest celebration for expecting parents,  increasingly visible on all forms of social media.  If you type ‘gender reveal party’ into Youtube, you will be inundated with videos of expecting parents announcing the sex of their unborn child to the world. Parents-to-be announce the gender of their child, based on the sex of the child provided by a medical assessment by doctors between the 16th and 20th week of gestation. Similar to their well known analogue the baby shower, these events routinely employ stereotypical representations of gender to indicate the child’s sex. Typical symbols include pink, princess themes for girls and blue, cowboy decorations for boys. Gender reveal parties often employ dramatic techniques to reveal the unborn child’s sex, such as fireworks or the release of confetti or balloons. The once private moment for expecting parents has transformed into a public display, with these parties inextricably linked to social media. Critics st…

Book Review: The Feminine Revolution

Now more than ever, the need to discuss traits traditionally considered feminine, is paramount. Luckily for us, Amy Stanton and Catherine Connors have opened up the dialogue in a strong and welcoming way. ‘The Feminine Revolution’, serves as a great introductory text for anybody looking to learn more about gender theory and how these archetypal feminine traits came to be.

Framed around 21 core traits that any female should embrace, ‘The Feminine Revolution’ celebrates female modes of being which include, but are not limited to: crying openly, being a dreamer and unleashing your wild woman. This piece of literature can be commended for a multitude of reasons but ‘The Feminine Revolution’ should primarily be celebrated for its unapologetic stance for acknowledging a wide range of ways to express feminine power.

Stanton’s and Connor’s book is a great example of a passion project gone right. By making the point to ensure that the concepts discussed within this book are coupled with actio…

STEMinist – Sexism in the Workplace

13 years ago, as I prepared for college, my father (a mechanical engineer himself) warned me that mechanical engineering won’t be easy, that I would be working out in the field and getting tan, not the most desirable look for a good Asian woman, and I pish-poshed – silently, as would a good Asian woman – because that is precisely where I wanted to see myself in a few years’ time. What he meant is that I would be overlooked, second-guessed, objectified, undermined, spoken over, spoken about like I’m not right there, maybe even underpaid, and explicitly told at some point in my career that I was surely a “diversity hire.” 
Being in a field of work that is infamously rampant with toxic masculinity isn’t the only reason he was right. Women struggle on a daily basis to be considered as qualified as men in every field. The gender pay gap is a commonly quoted example of this. Based on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency under the Australian government, statistics from gender pay gap data c…

Not All Men. But More Than Enough

If you've spent enough time in feminist circles and enough time engaging with allies, you are practically guaranteed to have heard the term "not all men!" If you had an automatic eye-roll reaction, I'll understand, and if not I'll explain. It's the sentiment consistently expressed by men in the face of stories about problematic male behaviour. Not all men, they will say. Not all men are rapists. Not all men are misogynists. Not all men are violent. All of these sentiments are true. But the expression itself is toxic - and I for one will no longer engage with anyone who employs this diversionary tactic any longer.

The reason is simple: it's not rhetoric that signals someone is a legitimate ally, it's a logical fallacy designed to derail an important conversation back to a topic they feel is more deserving - namely, men's problems. You might remember something similar in the #alllivesmatter response to the Black Lives Matter movement. There it was d…

Tales of a Former “Edge Lord”, or, “I Went to Anti-Feminism and All I Got Was This Crappy T-Shirt”

It feels like a lifetime ago that I was supporting my best friend in leaving an abusive relationship.It had honestly never occurred to me that the battle would begin after she had moved out. I should clarify, though, that she was the abuser, and he was the abused.
Prior to that point, my feminism had already been waning. A lot of it had to do with the fact that I had been misinformed in my feminism from the start, to the point where my beliefs and actions had begun to feel quite extremist. There was another part, though, that was rooted in the fact that my male friends had started to consider me a sort of safe space, and an overwhelming number of them had been approaching me to describe relationship situations that were causing them significant harm. With these revelations, I became more and more disillusioned with what it meant to be a feminist. I started to notice the way domestic violence helplines were gendered, so that the only helplines targeted to men had already assumed their o…

Forgotten Femmes - The Great Women in Australian Art

The common rhetoric blasted across our societal landscape is “The future is female”, but what if the past already was?

When you think about the art world, across a myriad of artistic movements, the main majority of modern artists were men. Whether it’s Duchamp, Matisse, Picasso, Dali, Warhol or Da Vinci himself, it’s clear that the mainstream rhetoric alludes to the masters of the art world’s past being predominantly male. Yes, there are the few outliers such as Frida Kahlo, Marina Abramovic who have managed to make a name for themselves over time but they tend to be the exceptions.
For every master of the art world, there is more than likely a female equivalent working within the same time period who is creating equally as innovative work yet has managed to go practically unnoticed as time has gone on. One classic example includes the previously neglected works of the Swedish artist known as Hilma af Klint. Klint was an abstract painter who was creating paintings within this visual sty…