Women engineers refute sexism with #iLookLikeAnEngineer campaign

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I’m in love with this!


When I was in engineering school, back in the previous century, women were very much in the minority, but most of them did not look like engineers at all. Attractive clothes, good hygiene, the full monty. In fact, they were generally mistaken for civilized people.


My first management position in IT was of a team of 3 women (no, I didn’t select them, the previous manager who happened to be a woman had hired them and was also the person who chose me as her successor). Two of them worked on a DEC Alpha MUMPS Meditech system as programmers and the third was a helpdesk tech. All of them were insanely talented and produced peerless work. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but they all were quite attractive as well. It was kind of intimidating… not their looks mind you but their intelligence and skill-sets.
There’s something about working for a company or business where the glass ceiling and the boys clubs are non-existent. You get applicants you won’t find applying to other businesses. It’s as if women have somehow found some way to communicate their positive and negative work experiences. I think it has something to do with computers but I’m not sure. The 13 year old in me still suspects some sort of magic may be at work here. In any case intelligent, talented, and attractive people really do exist. Unfortunately I’m like most of us… pick two.


Excuse me, I’m looking at my watch. Did I unknowingly go back in time to when “You don’t look like a ____” was still something people said?

Oh, I made the mistake of thinking that with people of all types in all types of jobs we’d actually moved past that.


You know, part of this problem could be attributed to the practice of companies using either stock imagery, or contracted shoots with models to “represent” them in a better light. How many times have you seen an image with an attractive person in it and didn’t believe that person was anything more than a model subconsciously?

How many women in this search on Shutterstock for “engineer woman” do you think are actually engineers vs. models?

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Wait wait, let me guess…

Am I close?

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How do I get a closer look at the text in the article’s image? The text with the arrow pointing to it. I clicked on the image here on bb, it took me to twitter, I clicked on it in twitter and still couldn’t zoom in, then tap-and-held and opened the image alone in a new tab to find out its illegible and super jpeggy when I zoom in.

Did you click on the medium link? Its a zoomable pic.


Without any information about them, I’d call it guessing rather than thinking.

But I agree that too many ads do rely upon weird contextless photos of people.

I wonder if a strength of this campaign might be as much nuking pedestal-ing as much as nuking the preconceived notion of techbeards.

Like, I’ve seen some of the women I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside basically command a bit of worshipful reverence from socially awkward dudes clearly smitten with them for being awesome, talented, intelligent, and lovely, like they are some otherworldly entity from their feverish pubescent dreams come to living breathing life. Isis seems to have had some similar experiences (“friends with benefits!”).

But they’re just humans, just people, just tech nerds who have their own baggage and issues. They aren’t your ideal woman, they’re their own person, and treating them like someone you want to date rather than someone you want to work with is right up there with saying that they don’t belong because of how they look.

The pedestal-ing is just as ignorant of their humanity as the appearance-policing. A woman engineer who happens to be attractive isn’t magical, she’s just a person.


Right on the mark. In retrospect I wish I’d said I hope we’ll eventually move past the time when “You don’t look like a ____” is something people still say, but my mistake you pointed out is a useful lesson. I’m aware that a particular gender and race grant privilege–but all too often only when I’m bludgeoned in the head by the experiences of those who fall outside those categories. I shouldn’t need those reminders, especially after just reading about it. Thank you for reminding me of that.


I’m getting that done in decorative crossstitch.
When it is done I shall post a photo of it for you and all to use as we see fit. :smile:


Ah, thanks. I was following the wrong trail of blogcrumbs…

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This is correct. My brother’s an engineer, and I’ve seen him in his natural element with all of his engineer buddies. Your average engineer makes the dad bod look ripped.

“You don’t look like an engineer” is more of a compliment.

You look like a marine

You look like a surfer

You don’t look like you spend all of your time sitting in front of a screen, running out the clock until you can go out and get a calzone on your break


My wife(modelled in college) has run into the problem that if she doesn’t nerd up her dress a bit she is perceived as a pretty piece of furniture, especially by women. She has not worn contacts in years in part because of the problem and has to dress in a more businesslike manner then most of her clients for face time.

As a woman there are many contexts where you are either too ugly or too beautiful to be taken seriously. I’m not even sure there is a spot in the middle, I think they might overlap.


That eff-ed if you do an/or don’t catch-22 is the stuff legally deniable glass ceilings are made of…

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“You don’t look like an astrophysicist.”


I kind of wonder what @sexycyborg 's experience of being excluded/idolized for her appearance in tech circles might be.