She's Such A Geek!

She's Such A Geek!

Women Write About Science, Technology, & Other Nerdy Stuff

Book - 2006
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She's Such a Geek is a ground-breaking anthology that celebrates women who have flourished in the male-dominated realms of technical and cultural arcana. Editors Annalee Newitz and Charlie Anders bring together a diverse range of critical and personal essays about the meaning of female nerdhood by women who are in love with genomics, obsessed with blogging, learned about sex from Dungeons and Dragons, and aren't afraid to match wits with men or computers. More than anything, She's Such a Geek is a celebration and call to arms: it's a hopeful book which looks forward to a day when women will invent molecular motors, design the next ultra-tiny supercomputer, and run the government.
Publisher: Emeryville CA : Seal, [2006]
Copyright Date: ©2006
ISBN: 9781580051903
1580051901
Branch Call Number: 508.2 She
Characteristics: vii, 231 pages ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: She is such a geek

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mikemarotta
Mar 03, 2018

"What does it feel like to be a female in a male-dominated industry? I have nothing to compare the experience to, having never been a female in a female-dominated industry or a male in any industry at all.” – Devin Kyle Grayson.

This anthology delivers 24 autobiographical vignettes about growing up, working, and living as a female noted for, and often defined by, her relationship to one or more STEM studies: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The editors (who also contributed) selected these stories from among 200 entries.

The editors note that in 2001, “56% of bachelor degrees in science and engineering went to women, but women hold only 25 percent of jobs in science and engineering. More women than men are graduating in the sciences but a hostile job market and chilly graduate programs are keeping them from achieving their goals.”

That correlates well with blind studies showing that in university science laboratories, even women managers discriminate against female applicants. Moreover the male attitudes that have not changed include a deeper problem of condescension, the old-fashioned gentleman’s insistence on protecting a woman from physical work and physical risk. (“The Dress,” by Diana Husmann.)

Nonetheless, the plural of anecdote is not data; and the plurality of anecdotes here may call the data into question. Each story is unique. Draw your own generalizations.

For myself, I see that the private sector rewards what the university does not. (See “The Making of a Synchotron Geek,” by Corie Ralston, and “Suzy the Computer versus Dr. Sexy,” by Suzanne E. Franks, and “Geek Interrupted” by Jean Shreve.) Small universities and liberal arts colleges appreciate what Big Name Research Institutions do not. (“Professor in a Circuit Board Corset,” by Ellen Speritus.) Life often takes you places you did not imagine when your focus was on the SATs. (“Job Security,” by Kirsten Abkemeier, “Universe: the Sequel,” by Aomaya Shields, and “All Our Boys go to the IT Industry in America,” by Roopa Ramamoorthi.)

Yet within each of these 24 narratives are many more commonalities and differences, any of which could be used to draw thin conclusions or question broad generalizations. That, to me, is the ultimate lesson here: statistics about populations hide the realities of individuals.

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StarGladiator
Apr 18, 2014

[More Brand Bland than Brand X.] There are several gems among the vignettes recorded here, but I must note a disclaimer on Annalee Newitz - - she heavily censors her web sites [like Cory Doctorow], and anyone who claims to be a geek and hacker, yet acts completely antithetical to the Hacker Ethos, is a complete and total fraud. Otherwise, many of the life accounts are by women from high socioeconomic backgrounds who ardently support the status quo.

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