Growing up in a culture where “Sweet and cultured” was more valued than “Loud and Independent”, I always thought yes I want to be that girl. Living with my parents I always thought that I would never be one of those girls that slept around, I would never drink, I would never party, I would never wear “small” clothes and moreover I would never have sex outside of marriage. I thought these were all things that “bad girls” did. Dirty girls, as they would call them in my household.
As I grew older I found myself leaning more and more towards these things that “Bad girls” did and when college finally came I let myself loose. I didn’t enjoy it much, as these ideologies that I had been raised with had subconsciously seeped into my system and it would takes years to reverse that effect. But I did realize one very important thing, these things that my parents, and even extended family were so vary off were simple life choices and while they wanted to make me less attractive to men, they wanted to make me more attractive to men in terms of marriage material.
Yes thats right, and I wish I could say its just my parents, I wish I could say that it was just my family but having watched a popular movie about 30mins ago representing the exact same idea I realized that this wasn’t a personal problem, this was a nations problem, and maybe a problem faced by society as a whole. Raise your daughters to be marriage material, deride them with phrases like “oh nobody is ever going to marry/love you”, and before sending them off to college tell them to come back quickly so that they can find you a nice husband and they will have less confidence in themselves in the end. If they think that is the sole purpose of their lives of course they will start to second doubt themselves when they even briefly question the system. Of course, however that argument is very focused on a single culture.
In a society where women that are docile, kind and humble are valued over their anti-thesis, in a society where love stories are never written about that high flying CEO who was a boss ass bitch, but about her male counterpart, in a society where chick-flicks(geared towards women) are about women who fill into exactly these gender roles how do we ever expect to have more women in STEM related fields. After all you’re supposed to find love, settle down, have kind of a nice job, and raise the kids. STEM careers, are not about standing back and doing all the work behind a counter, moreover there isn’t any aesthetic or traditionally feminine quality to it.
You are of course allowed to be successful when you start working but after being raised up with this idea that men like simple girls (read not involved in anything science-y), and as humans having the intrinsic desire to be loved we start growing in that direction. You grow up wanting to become more like the heroine of your favorite rom-com and tell me the last time she was a mechanical engineer, or even an engineer at all. At best she may work in a lab, and maybe the most exciting profession of course, a sexy super hero. But don’t tell me what I’m saying is not true till superwoman gets her own TV show, because as sure as hell remember those night time reruns of spider man on Cartoon Network but I have never heard any hype about the Superwoman movie or the Batwoman movie(do they even exist ?!)
There are studies trying to prove that women are just “wired” differently. That women prefer these care-taking roles, that they prefer working to make things look pretty. I think its society that is wired in such a way that women are forced to confine themselves. Chemical Engineering has a better sex ratio because working with chemicals/in a lab is considered more feminine than just popping the hood of a car and working away. Society has come a long way, but don’t you dare tell me that we don’t need feminism till engineering and other STEM degrees have a 50:50 ratio.