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NEAT/HURL NEAT: Google prioritizes girls

HURL: Hating on Sorority Girls

WORDS BY KATHRYN BURNEY Although computer science is a consistently growing field, few women are entering it. Google, however, is trying to change that. The company’s new initiative, Made W/ Code is a program designed to encourage young girls to pursue computer science. What’s important about the initiative is that Google has made the realization that young girls are potentially interested in coding, but that their interest diminishes as they get older. This is due in large part to societal conventions that discourage girls from pursuing STEM fields based on the stereotype that women simply aren’t as good at math and science as men. In a world where girls are expected to limit their skills and interests to fields that are perceived as less important or superficial, it’s not surprising that many are scared away by the prospect of coding. These societal messages produce very real results; after all, when you’re told over and over that you can’t do something, you begin to believe it—and you limit yourself. Google is taking this very seriously. The company have devoted $50 million to the program, which will create PSAs about female coders, reward teachers who encourage coding amongst their female students, and provide girls with beginning coding projects, such as making .gifs. By attempting to make coding accessible for girls, Google is creating opportunities for women that they may not have known existed for them. Part of what makes the program valuable is that it features strong, remarkable women who use coding in their current professions, such as fashion design, choreography, and humanitarianism; the result is the portrayal of coding as an integral part of women’s occupations and lives. These role models, however, fail to represent more traditionally male-dominated math and science jobs, such as engineering or computer science. By representing a wider range of possible jobs, Google could expand upon their message that coding is for everyone. Despite the program’s flaws, Made W/ Code is important to the future of women’s employment. As the job market becomes more and more competitive, Google’s validation of math and science fields as an option for girls serves to fight against harmful societal conventions that hold women and girls back, creating more diverse job opportunities.

WORDS BY HANNAH LEWMAN There are plenty of valid reasons not to join a sorority. These social organizations can be expensive, elitist, and time-consuming. Yet one of the most common reasons for not wanting to join a sorority is also one of the most misogynistic: “Girls are so bitchy.” Those who think they’re being progressive by slamming these institutions as frivolous hubs of sexism and painted coolers often go about their criticism in a very problematic way. Some of these critiques of sororities can be classified as internalized misogyny—the sneaky, pervasive sexism that teaches women to resent other women without even realizing it. When people stereotype sorority girls as catty, emotional, uncooperative, overdramatic, gossipy, backstabbing “bitches,” they’re really taking a dig at all women. What they’re saying is that when women live together, when they take leadership positions, make decisions, and try to work cohesively, things are bound to turn out badly because those are not things women are meant to do, not things they are capable of doing well. And why would a woman, even a strong-willed and self-respecting feminist, believe and project such things about other women? It’s because these are messages that she has come to believe and internalize over a lifetime of exposure to negative stereotypes and sexist messages about women. I’m not shaming the girls who have used this excuse, and I’m also not encouraging anyone to go out and rush. I’m challenging everyone to think harder about the language they use and learn to question the stereotypes they’ve been fed. It’s time to think critically and fight back against internalized misogyny, and this is just one of the many opportunities to do so. So instead of focusing on how “bitchy” sorority girls are, lets call Greek life out for the right reasons. Let’s talk about the prevalence of sexual violence in the organizations, let’s talk about the fact that a recent Guardian article cites a statistic saying that fraternity brothers are 300% more likely to rape, let’s talk about how we can end this. Instead of funneling our attention and voices into stereotyping and making fun of “catty sorority sisters” let’s redirect our efforts to calling out the actual injustices in Greek life. We have voices and if they’re loud enough to perpetuate stereotypes, they’re loud enough to create positive change.

THE SEXUAL VIOLENCE ISSUE | 6

NEAT: Battered Princess WORDS BY GABBY URENDA For as long as I can remember, I’ve known every word of every line of every song of every movie created by Disney—including (and most especially) those that feature a princess finding her prince and their life of “happily ever after.” I wanted that. As do many girls. During the transition from childhood to young womanhood, most girls long for an ideal relationship. A princess, like Cinderella or Snow White, will endure and overcome anything to keep her prince. But as we all grow older, we begin to see this storyline for what it really is: bullshit. Someone who seems to agree is an artist by the name of Saint Hoax, who recently created a Disney princess-inspired campaign called “Happily Never After.” The campaign features pictures of popular Disney princesses who have been badly beaten, sporting black eyes and bloody noses. While these are not meant to be comforting images in any way, it’s empowering to see an artist straying away from the glorification of Disney princesses and their princes. “Happily Never After” also raises awareness that sexual, physical, and emotional abuse really can happen to any person, no matter how charming the prince may seem. Taking a stand with iconic images of Disney princesses allows young girls to ask, “When did he stop treating you like a princess?” Inside of each and every one of us, there is a little girl blissfully singing “Under the Sea.” The most important part of this campaign is that these little girls—both the real ones and the ones that live in our grownup hearts—realize that “ever after” is never too late to bring an end to violence.

Profile for The Siren Magazine of the ASUO Women's Center

THE SEXUAL VIOLENCE ISSUE  

In light of the sexual violence epidemic that plagues college campuses across the nation, we at the Siren present our readers with THE SEXUA...

THE SEXUAL VIOLENCE ISSUE  

In light of the sexual violence epidemic that plagues college campuses across the nation, we at the Siren present our readers with THE SEXUA...

Profile for sirenmag