Sunday, November 3, 2013

Interim notes

If my Tumblr seems quieter than usual, I haven't been checking my Feedly in a few weeks.  A combination of busy with classes, homework, family things and a hardware malfunction on my electronics.

I have some tenuous first thoughts that I want to make note of for later depth.  I have a sense that they're all interconnected, but they aren't complete thoughts yet.

I've been a Geek for as long as I can remember.  I was "Star Wars Katie" long before the internet existed.

But as a young, originally-conservative engineering student, I did not tend to identify with the feminism I encountered at that time, primarily newspaper articles with quotes from NOW.

Even as I became liberal over the course of my undergraduate studies, there were particularities to the ways in which I did or did not claim feminism.  Many of these connect to my background as a military "brat", to my chosen career in STEM, and my own dreams as a Space Advocate.

When I was working on my M.A. in Humanities, I specifically tried to avoid "women's studies" classes, and sometimes the professors.  I didn't think that I needed that type of understanding, particularly not for the work I was doing.  I was not wholly successful, and two of the three women's studies professors I took classes with turned out to have a lot to teach me.

So when I started looking for other Geek Women online, I found the Geek Feminism blog.  From there, I began to learn about intersectional feminism, a concept developed by Kimberle Crenshaw.

More recently, I read Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In and have been active in promoting STEM careers for women.  I have many thoughts about the book, but have been busy with schoolwork and have not taken the time to fully analyze them.

So I recently discovered bell hooks review, "Dig Deep: Beyond Lean In."  It is a powerful piece, well-written and passionate.  I have been trying, in recent years, to understand feminism and go beyond the "faux feminism" that bell hooks disparages.  I'm not sure how successful I am.

But just as I had struggles as an undergraduate, I have struggles with this piece now.  I feel as if I am being called to choose between my work in corporate America and my caring for social justice.  To choose between my career as an engineer and STEM advocate, and the "true feminist" ideal of remaking the world.  I would like to think that by being who I am, where I am, here at the intersection of these issues, that maybe I could help find the common ground.  Corporate Social Responsibility is a mainstream concern now, my business classes have nearly all addressed it.

Ah... that was the other piece.  Changing the world someday.  I saw "In the Heights" when it came to town.  That could be another bundle of posts on female expectations...

I knew a young woman in Houston, that I would have sworn would change the world someday.  But she won't now.

Probably not a coherent post.  Like I said, the hope is that I can come back to these issues and create good essays on them later.