I’ve had a thought rattling around my brain recently. A rather mundane thought, as it turns out; one which feminist writers on the internet have been ruminating over for literal years. The thought goes something like this. Saskia Wishart, She Loves Magazine, October 2014:
It takes only nine months to make a baby; a PhD takes years. So where is the shower for women who complete their studies?
Brittany Berckes, Man Repeller, June 2015:
We should rearrange our schedules to fit in our friend’s promotion party because the promotion is just as crucial as a marriage is to creating her happy, fulfilling life.
Natalie Brooke, Huffington Post, February 2016:
It is 2016 and being popped the question is still more celebrated than academic and professional pursuits of women. … Perhaps it’s time for society as a whole to re-evaluate what aspect of women’s lives we put the most value on.
I’m of two minds on this.
On the one hand, I wholeheartedly wish to celebrate weddings and baby showers. Queer people have been expressly excluded from traditional milestones like these in the past, and it still feels like a big deal to me to participate now. There are things about these institutions I take issue with, but when I read about Ali jointly picking an engagement ring with her now wife? Or look at photos of KaeLyn holding her perfect tiny newborn? Hell yes I’m cheering!
On the other hand, I totally relate to the place where the above writers are coming from. After all, I’m not married or a parent, but my stuff is important, too! Women engineers play a key role in breaking down gender stereotypes and busting glass ceilings. Damn straight we should be celebrating my professional accomplishments. While we’re at it: why confine ourselves to the big milestones? Being a woman in STEM is hard work every single day, and I’m ready for our collective efforts to be recognized. Down with the patriarchy! Presents for all occasions!
Here are some gift suggestions for the women in STEM in your life. Just because.
Great Job Telling Your Boss Not To Refer To Women Engineers As “Girls”
Congratulations, You Changed The Name On Your Resume To Match Your Gender Identity
Sorry Your New Coworker Assumed You Were In Marketing
“With Deepest Sympathy” card // Marimo Balls Air Plant Terrarium in Erlenmeyer Flasks // Voronoi & Delaunay Mathematics Diagram Journal // Vintage Double-Sided Bookplate Entomology Print // Science Doesn’t Care What You Think T-shirt // Ada Lovelace: Heroes of Science Pint Glass
Go You: Took Advantage Of Paid Parental Leave
Scientific Alphabet Prints // Test Tube Printed Bag // Blue Mitosis Silk Scarf // Motherboard Necklace // Flensted Science Fiction Mobile // Science Is For Girls Baby Bib // Periodic Table Themed Baby Shower Invitation
50% Of The Women In Your Field Have Dropped Out By Now, But You’re Still Here!
Stalactite Ring // “She’s Got Science” Sticker // Diatoms Bow Tie // CTRL + ESC Keyboard Keys T-shirt // Trophy Collection // Science Party Cake // Pavlov’s Cat (“Yeah right. I’m not moving ’til I hear the can opener.”) T-Shirt // Deinonychus Velociraptor 3D Printed Skull Earrings // Still Here Print // Wine Chemistry Stemless Glass
Notes From A Queer Engineer is a recurring column with an expected periodicity of 14 days. The subject matter may not be explicitly queer, but the industrial engineer writing it sure is. This is a peek at the notes she’s been doodling in the margins.