The ‘Cool Girl’ trap is, while not the only factor, essentially one of the reasons sexism, racism, and other –isms are so pervasive in such a homogenized industry. Of the eight people that worked in that office, I was the only woman, the only Hispanic (or any non-white person), and the youngest in the office. This small sample reflects much of the industry itself — women only make up about 22% of developers. Caucasians still make up an overwhelming 79%.
When you’re surrounded by only one particular group, and they constantly remind you that you’re the outlier, you struggle to find footing in that group. You struggle to be accepted, so you sweep things under the rug. You put off articulating your real feelings because, what’s the harm in it? But you work so hard trying to get in to the inner circle that you find a hard time getting out without risking everything.
Kennedy Garza on the Cool Girl Trap.
I was always The Cool Girl growing up–except for the being skinny and hot part, I was never skinny and/or hot–because I was always the girl who was more in Transformers than Barbie, more into video games than makeup, and Back In Those Days (the 80s and 90s) we didn’t have all this modern gender-smashing feminism of the Kids These Days With Their Tumblrs And Their Queertranspoc Cosplay Headcanons, so being “one of the boys” and deriding femininity was the way to survive if you were female and nerdy.
It sucked. It sucked a lot, although it was difficult to realise it at the time.
It wasn’t until I got into the workplace that I really started to unlearn and question a lot of my own internalised rhetoric. Doing so probably started about the time the same set of men would “compliment” me on being “not like other girls” in the same breath as they would “joke” about me going to the kitchen and making them a sandwich.
You know who didn’t joke about me going into the kitchen and making a sandwich? Other women in the office, that’s who.
Fuck being “not like other girls”, basically. Other girls are awesome.