This post isn’t necessarily about business or technology, but it’s something I think really relates to women in technology.
After reading this great piece by Justine Musk on changing the game, and having a conversation about the topic of fashion for men and women in tech with my boyfriend Robin… I came to a few realizations.
As a little girl I dressed up for fun
Growing up I loved dressing up, doing my hair, wearing make-up. I was especially fond of sparkles, and anything magical-looking. I was a total girlie girl who loved pink, and dancing, and performing lip-sync shows at school.
Then a few things happened: I started doing martial arts (and became a black belt). This got me more aware of my body as a self-defense weapon, and I wasn’t executing cute dance moves anymore, I was a lot more controlled and rigid.
Dressing down to level the field
Next, when I went off to University I was thrown in with 100 guys and 15 girls to study Software Engineering. I wasn’t used to the increase in male attention and felt uncomfortable. I didn’t want to be a sex object like the girls in video games or on TV, so I started adapting.
I didn’t want to be judged based on the color of my hair, or the length of my skirts.
I decided then and there that I wanted to be judged not by the way I looked by rather by my intellect. Not by my potential, but by my actions.
So I started wearing baggy sweaters, jeans, and sneakers… I stopped worrying about my hair and forgot about makeup. I wanted to be one of the boys.
I didn’t have much time for those things anyway, since the program was intense. I gained a few pounds and basically stopped worrying about my looks. (Later I discovered raw food and started taking better care of my health!)
Rediscovering my feminine style
Fast forward to today, where I’m just rediscovering my feminine side. It’s taken me awhile to realize the changes that took place. I would tell my mom that fashion just wasn’t important to me, and that I didn’t want to conform to the latest styles.
But you know what? I’ve come to really enjoy dressing up again. For fun, as part of being my best self.
Not because I want to be judged by my looks, but because it makes me feel good. I enjoy getting compliments (who doesn’t?), but I also just love feeling feminine – owning both the fun and fashionable side of me, and the intellectual techy side of me.
I can see this change now emerging for a few reasons. I’m doing more yoga and that’s a whole different feel from Martial Arts.
I’m also hanging out with more smart AND sexy women, which is showing me that it’s possible to have the best of both worlds.
Where do you fall along the style continuum?
I’d love to hear about your relationship to style, leave a comment below and we can compare notes or swap suggestions.