Engineer ‘too pretty’?: Female Software Engineer Too Pretty Isis Wenger
Published: August 6, 2015
Engineer ‘too pretty’?: Female Software Engineer Too Pretty Isis Wenger, She’s not too pretty to be an engineer. When 22-year-old software engineer Isis Anchalee Wenger appeared in an ad for her San-Francisco based company, OneLogin, there was just one problem. People didn’t believe she was ‘real.’
Wenger, who has long dark tresses, big brown eyes and slightly resembles Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes Leon, is a self-taught full-stack engineer who calls herself a ‘genuine introvert’ and ‘science nerd.’
But when she appeared on a OneLogin ad that was plastered at the BART and MUNI stations at Embarcadero in San Francisco, the backlash began.
One person wrote about the ad on Facebook: ‘This is some weird haphazard branding. I think they want to appeal to women, but are probably just appealing to dudes.
Perhaps that’s the intention all along. But I’m curious [if] people with brains find this quote remotely plausible [and] if women in particular buy this image of what a female software engineer looks like.’
Only that was what a female software engineer looked like, because Wenger is a real software engineer.
Another person thought she appeared too ‘sexy,’ writing: ‘If their intention is to attract more women then it would have been a better to choose a picture with a warm, friendly smile rather than a sexy smirk.’
To help correct the misconception that engineers all have to be nerdy-looking Bill Gates-like dweebs, Wenger has started a campaign to show the world what they really look like.
Participants can upload their photos to Twitter with the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer.
Even Gates’ wife, Melinda, has weighted in, tweeting: ‘#ILookLikeAnEngineer is rightfully challenging the face of engineering.’
‘External appearances and the number of X chromosomes a person has is hardly a measure of engineering ability,’ Wenger told TechCrunch. ‘My goal is to help redefine ‘what an engineer should look like’ because I think that is a step towards eliminating subconscious bias towards diversity in tech.’
So far, dozens of women – and men – have shared photos of themselves ‘looking like an engineer.’
On Medium, Wegner wrote about more hazards of being female in a male-dominated industry, saying: ‘I’ve had men throw dollar bills at me in a professional office (by an employee who works at that company, during work hours).
I’ve had an engineer on salary at a bootcamp message me to explicitly ‘be friends with benefits’ while I was in the interview process at the school he worked for.’
She added: ‘The negative opinions about this ad that strangers feel so compelled to share illustrate solid examples of the sexism that plagues tech.’
‘It blows my mind that my fully-clothed smiling face with unbrushed hair and minimal makeup on a white wall is seemingly more controversial in some communities than this simply because of my gender.’
The #ILookLikeAnEngineer hashtag has drawn attention from the likes of Katie Couric, Chelsea Clinton and Arianna Huffington.
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