Yesterday, a Twitter hashtag became very popular after an article titled “You May Have Seen My Face on BART” by Isis Wenger gained traction and was shared on social media. In an update to the original article, she included a picture of herself and a call to action to use the tag #ILookLikeAnEngineer paired with a selfie. The purpose was to highlight the many different types of people and the diversity that exists in the tech world.
I don’t usually participate in trending hashtags as I usually feel pretty self-conscious about things like this. However, I made an exception this time as Wenger’s mission really resonated with me. I decided to throw my support behind the hashtag and tweeted this photo at the end of the work day at my desk.
— Rachel Ober (@rachelober) August 3, 2015
Historically I’ve struggled with what an “engineer” or “developer” is supposed to look like. In college, I dressed down quite a bit and my wardrobe included nerdy t-shirts, a few pairs of jeans, and the obligatory university-branded zippered hoodie, mostly because it kept me from having to make one more decision that day. I will never forget the time someone once made a comment about how I “cleaned up well” on a night out, it made me feel like somehow I didn’t “fit” into some kind of mold.
Lately, I’ve become more comfortable vacillating back and forth between a more feminine or a laid-back look. I think it’s important to try and break people’s perceptions of what it means to typified and “look” like some sort of professional based on some outdated stereotype. Because in reality, your look has nothing to do with how well you do your job.
Check out the #ILookLikeAnEngeer tag on Twitter.