This past weekend, I gave my first ever solo talk on WordPress development, with just a hint of UI love. I’ve taught classes on web/digital media and talk to/perform in front of lots of people all the time, but this was my first ever “stand up in front of a room of geeks and go”. It was awesome. I think I kicked ass. My code got the once-over and blessings of some developers that I and many others respect very, very much. And you know one of the comments I got over and over? “It’s amazing/surprising/something-allegedly-positive-but-expressing-a-contradiction-to-perception to see a female developer.” 5
That’s not a helpful comment
An interesting read from an Asian, female WordPress developer and how people like her shouldn’t be viewed as an anomaly.
More-worldly folks, those with larger & ‘higher’ levels of social experience, tend to learn not to express the obvious, when it may (oops) be unwelcome.
When I was a kid, my small taste of it was … “(smile) You look like Paul Newman”. When I was little, I kinda liked the famous actor. When people wanted to interact with their perception of my resemblance to him (instead of “me”), I came to resent the guy, a bit.
At our country general store, a nice girl works the counter, stocks shelves. She is very tall, I will say surely in excess of 6 and a half feet, very possibly pushing or actually, 7 feet. And she is massively and powerfully built.
The store is actually a ‘tourist attraction’, very quiant & delightful to visitors. The post office is in one corner, so we go in the store often. It is also our gas station. Well … the looks we see on visitors faces when they see her … and my cringe when someone blurts out the obvious … are all-too-familiar.
Of course, the truth is, she is quite startling. She is, indeed, quite an “anomaly”. As, indeed, are female web developers. “Wow! A girl! [hey! shush you fool!]”
We hope that folks ‘catch’ themselves, before expressing their surprise at suddenly encountering a striking anomaly … when that anomaly is another human person, with feelings, who gets sensitive to having something that seems irrelevant, made the ‘center of attention’.
But it will still happen.