My whole life, I have always wanted to do one thing. It was never the most popular career choice for a woman albeit, but over the years the profession has taken off immensely. I wanted to be a meteorologist. And before you condone me on how I am always wrong and that the dress I am going to wear on television is horrendous, it’s something that I just knew I was supposed to do. I never really cared if it was the cool thing to do, and to be honest I never wanted to be on the news anyways. The behind the scenes part of meteorology, the research and the forecasting, is what interested me the most. Now being a woman going into a predominantly male field was odd to me at first, but I have quickly grown accustomed to working with men. When I was finishing my undergrad, I noticed a few changes in myself that I was not prepared to tackle. I found myself suppressing my “girly-girl” side, and I wasn’t totally sure on how to connect the dots between that and what was happening with my career choice.
Now, I have always been that mix of tomboy and “girly-girl” where I am equally both part disgusting burping all the time and other part using a $38 highlighter all over my body. But, after I got to experience being in my core meteorology classes, it was even more clear that I was one of the few women in the program. I constantly felt like I needed to prove myself and do better than everyone else, including the guys. It didn’t help that I was also a little slow with the learning part of college, and I actually needed to do double the work of everyone else in order to keep up. I felt like it was necessary to neglect the “girly-girl” things I loved already like makeup, face masks, painting my nails, dressing nice, going on Bath & Body Works shopping sprees, all of it. I know it seems silly, but I thought to myself, “I wonder if other girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) majors feel the same way?” Constantly having this need to not be too “girly” around the men in your program because you feel it would hurt your “status” to them. You feel like if you show too much of your feminine side, the men will throw your credibility into the toilet. I already felt like I wasn’t good enough, so concealing my “girliness” is what I did to combat those feelings.
To my STEM ladies out there: Never ever be ashamed to be who you really are. If you are a woman and you love those spa nights and listening to the latest makeup reviews, then do that! If you like eating a whole bag of Doritos and playing on Xbox Live with your friends, do that too! Your femininity shouldn’t be a definition of what you are capable of in the science community, it should be a celebration! Just because I gaggle in Sephora and swatch a million different lipsticks with excitement, doesn’t mean I am unable to learn Calculus or run code in Python. And just because I love looking into the way gravity waves interact with existing frontal boundaries, doesn’t mean I don’t like having this face glow up from the latest Anastasia Glow Kit.
This is who I am, and I really wouldn’t have it any other way.