As seen by this Australian TV commercial from Super Geek and this admittedly damn funny Fear of Girls video, we learn that…
– Geeks are all guys, and not particularly attractive fellas, either
– Geeks are typically sporting taped-up glasses and completely uncool fashion
– Women AREN’T geeks (and they’re most often confusing/confused AND helpless)
While the videos above are funny (I’d be a humorless boob to suggest otherwise), in the back of my mind I do worry about the effects of the still-pervasive stereotypes on display. Specifically, I’m thinking about junior high and high school girls. After being immersed in a culture that continually reiterates that attractive girls are NOT geeks, how many of them will want to study math or science or computing? Would you want to work with guys like the ones in the videos above?
Companies like Google are certainly making a laudable effort to recruit more women engineers, but I’m wishing that there were more positive and diverse portrayals of geeks in the mass media: (intentionally) funny geeks, sexy geeks, communicative geeks, athletic geeks.
Living here in the Bay Area, I know various geeks that fit all of the above adjectives. In Silicon Valley, it’s almost chic to be a geek :-D. But I’m more concerned about girls (and, for that matter, many boys) growing up in the heartland of the U.S. or in other countries where there aren’t such role models.
We need more women engineers not to be politically correct, not so that we guys in the office can have more pleasant “scenery,” not so some HR or government bureaucrat can smugly check off another box on some form, but rather because we actually DO need the diversity of thinking and working styles and, quite frankly, the greatest pool of talented “knowledge workers” possible.
And okay, I’d like some uber-geeks to be worshipped in popular culture so I could go to Britain or Germany and be as popular as a David Beckham and such 😉