Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What It Feels Like for a Girl

I never particularly thought of myself as a girl.

I mean, clearly, I am anatomically girl-like. But I've always been more interested in the things that boys do than the things that girls do. I had G.I Joes and Legos instead of Barbies. I played video games with the boys rather than, uh, whatever girls did.  I played percussion rather than the flute or clarinet - the drumline is a hell of a fun place to be, pushups and all. I worked in the server room in my jeans and t-shirt instead of in the office in business casual. (I miss that cold-ass server room.) I'm far more comfortable with a room full of men than I am with a room full of women, and, in fact, the latter scenario freaks me out. When Megan had the idea for this site, I was sort of surprised when she asked me to write for her. What the hell did I know about the female side of anything?

My first article here was about makeup.  Do you know how many of my real life friends boggled at that?  Every single one of them who saw it. It's not that I don't wear makeup or like it well enough, they just figured if I was writing for a blog, I'd be ranting about something - video games or computers or what not. I wasn't sure there were other women out there who actually cared about that stuff. So, I played it safe and went with makeup because chicks like makeup, amirite?

It took quite a bit of coaxing by Megan before I was comfortable writing the stuff I was actually thinking. Things like how much that stupid-ass Slave Leia outfit pissed me off, or how much it irked me that my badass warrior woman was wearing 3 ounces of tinfoil, or how I wished I was more like Samantha Carter and less like Brenda Walsh. These are the strange things that come out of my brain and Megan has been incredibly supportive of my bizarreness. Gradually, I got to the point where I was looking at things from what I call A Stellar Four Point of View: What do I think of this as a person and how does it impact me as a female? The first part always came to me naturally, but the latter was something I had always discarded as irrelevant. I thought girl things - and female perspective - were things I didn't want or need.

About six months after I started writing for Stellar Four, I realized with a shock just how much my perspective had changed. I was sitting on a conference call with network and computer engineers from all over the world. I jumped in and led the resistance against a really stupid idea like I was John Connor battling Skynet. I marshaled my arguments and my forces and had an array of the most influential engineers in the firm backing me. All at once, it struck me that I was the only woman on that call and I was leading the troops. That had often been the case in my career, but after writing for Stellar Four I realized just how strange and wonderful that really was - and how sad that there weren't other women on there, and why the hell was that, anyway?

Every day I'm more mindful of what it feels like for a girl and it's entirely due to writing for Stellar Four.  Thank you, Megan, for inviting me to write stuff I didn't think I knew how to write and thereby showing me how to view myself and my life from a broader perspective.

Being a girl is kind of cool. Who knew?
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