challenging the notion of what a geek should look like, either by intentionally sexing up their tech personas, or by simply finding no disconnect between their geeky pursuits and more traditionally girly interests such as fashion, makeup and high heels.
Well, it’s nice that they are trying to recruit more women into engineering, and I hope they have fun building their solar race car. (Cause, dude! Solar race car!) But damn, I think their message sucks. I don’t think nerd girls with dorky glasses are going to think, “Wow! Engineering looks fun, and I can wear 3″ pink heels to work!” I think they’re going to think, “Wow. Engineers look and act just like the popular girls at school who make fun of me, and female engineers seem to be required to be Sex in the City-type hot. And their web site lacks functionality and has no content. *click* Oooh! Ancient Roman D20 up for auction!”
The Nerd Girl message reminds me of that standard movie trope, the hot woman who eats a ton and never exercises yet magically remains thin. (e.g., the Gilmore Girls.) A Sexy Lust for Steak is supposed to demonstrate bold nonconformity while never actually not conforming (by being chubby, for example.) The Nerd Girls seem to be cut from the same cloth – the sexy fashion thing is supposed to demonstrate that they’re different from those Other Really Nerdy Ugly Girls while they still conform to societal expectations to be hot above all else. This is not a nerd revolution, it’s a permutation of “Just be yourself! Ummm…as long as yourself is perky and thin.”
Then again, maybe I’m not being fair. Maybe I should pay more attention to fashion and footwear. After days and days of pondering Vogue and watching Sex in the City, I believe that I’ve hit upon the perfect outfit. Knee-high boots, distressed jeans, fashionably draped coat – soon oceanographic fashion will TAKE PARIS BY STORM! (erm, hopefully not literally.) Can I join the Nerd Girl reality show now?