Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I'm a woman, and God created me to do math and build robots

A pregnant woman in a t-shirt that says "Coding a future geek". Nice. Image source.

Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, what the hell?

No seriously, what is this? Target removes the "boy" and "girl" labels from different categories of toys [hooray! way to go, Target!], and you write an article about how this is a horrible thing, a sign that people are rejecting God's design for their gender or some bullshit like that.

Seriously, what the hell is this:
The Bible teaches that men are wired by God to protect and to pursue, so it is not surprising that they naturally like toys that by-and-large involve fighting, building, and racing. Women, on the other hand, are wired by God to nurture and to be pursued, so it is also not surprising that they largely enjoy playing with American Girl Dolls, Barbies, and Disney princess dresses.
First of all, where the hell in the bible does it say "men are wired by God to protect and to pursue" and women "are wired by God to nurture and to be pursued"? Where? Is it in the Book of Double You Tee Eff? Is it in the letters of Saint American Pop Culture That We've Baptized And We're Pretending It's From God?

No really, where?

Let me tell you a story. When I was a little girl, I played with Barbies. I had a ton of Barbies that were given to me as gifts. They were fun! But I didn't brush their hair or change their clothes. No, sometimes my Barbies got kidnapped and held as hostages- maybe by evil Barbies or some other toy- and then the other Barbies had to negotiate for their release. If this failed, the Barbies would launch a secret mission during the night to rescue their friends.

Is that what girls are supposed to do? Is that what boys are supposed to do? It didn't matter to me. Toys were a way to be creative and tell stories and imagine what could happen in different situations- situations that were based on my own interests, not categories of what girls or boys supposedly like.

In that blasphemous CBMW article, it says, "The problem with gender roles for the secular mind, and in this case, gender-designated signs for the toy aisles at Target, is that they confine." Yes, exactly. That is the problem. People should be free to be who God made them to be, instead of restricted by society's views of what people with a particular type of genitals are good at.

Let me tell you another story. I love math and science. I love logic and how it all fits together, I love manipulating variables in an equation. (My favorite field in math is number theory, what's yours?) I love learning how the world works and asking questions.

During my childhood, adults encouraged me to follow my interests, and I often heard comments about "isn't it great to see a girl winning the math award" and I have mixed feelings about that kind of stuff. At the time, it really made me angry- people talked as if my being a girl was some kind of obstacle I had valiantly overcome in order to be good at math. No. That's just who I am. That's how God made me.

In grades K through 12, I didn't experience discrimination on account of being a girl in math, because grades were objective. You got the answer right or wrong. You got an A or a B or whatever. It was very clear who was better than whom. But in college and in the real world, decisions and evaluations are also based on people's opinions about who seems like they would be good at math, or science or engineering. I'm a woman, so it's more likely that people will assume I don't know what I'm talking about.

It's just an assumption, or a vague feeling though. If asked about it directly, everyone will swear up and down that they really want to be objective and promote equality, etc.

Everyone except for CBMW, apparently. Apparently they're not interested in equality. Apparently they think I shouldn't be an engineer. (Oh I forgot to mention, in college I double-majored in math and electrical engineering.)

Their blasphemous article is just about toys, not careers that men or women should or shouldn't be in. But the same gender stereotypes apply, and CBMW is clearly in favor of those stereotypes.

If you tell me I shouldn't be an engineer, well. First of all, I will recite the first one hundred digits of pi at you. (Memorizing digits of pi isn't actually useful, but it's a fad for high school math nerds, so I did it. [Oooh, this might be a controversial statement, since pi is worshiped in nerd culture. Nerds, gather and debate in my comment section!]) And then I will show you all the programs I wrote on my TI 84+ graphing calculator in high school when I was supposed to be paying attention in class. (It was probably math class, and I probably wasn't paying attention because it was too easy.) Yeah, BASIC on a TI calculator, that was my first programming language. What was yours?

I love computer programming because the computer will do literally exactly what you tell it. And that's how my brain works. That's how God made me.

Let me tell you another story. In high school, I was proud of my identity as a math nerd. And therefore, I did not dress in a feminine way. Because of the stereotype that math is not a "girly" thing. If a female classmate dressed in a cute and feminine way, she "looked like" she wasn't good at math. There are several layers of internalized sexism here. The point is, I wanted to be taken seriously as a math nerd, so I didn't wear cute girly clothes. I wore a lot of big t-shirts.

Anyway, then I went to an engineering college, and I figured, hey, everyone here is pretty much assumed to be a nerd. I can dress feminine and it won't hurt my nerd cred. So I did.

And now, I really like to be cute and beautiful and feminine and wear dresses, in various bright colors including pink. I'm happy being myself. This is how God made me. (I don't wear makeup though- that just seems like way too much work.)

But back in high school, given the choice between two stereotypes- a math nerd and a cute girl- I chose to be a math nerd. And I absolutely would choose math over femininity, definitely. But it doesn't need to be that way. These two things are not actually opposites.

And, ironically, the stereotypes promoted by CBMW caused me to hide my God-given femininity.

One more fun line from their blasphemous article: "Instead of helping guide children towards embracing who they actually are, this blurs reality." Bizarrely, the "this" in that sentence is referring to the removal of "boy" and "girl" labels on toys. Through some kind of twisted logic that they're dragged God's name into, CBMW is saying that telling children they need to play with this toy and not that one, regardless of their own unique interests, is what "guid[es] children towards embracing who they actually are."

Like, what the hell is this?

If you don't want me to build, and discover, and write C++ code, you are denying the way God designed me.

CBMW, get out.

Get out of my religion.

And stop taking the Lord's name in vain.


How to tell if a toy is for boys or girls: A guide
Do you operate the toy with your genitalia?
Yes -> This toy is not for children.
No -> It is for either girls or boys.
Image source.

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