Beauty and the Brain

Part of what I hope comes out of this Geek Girls project is getting more women and girls interested in technology, whatever that might look like. For some, maybe it’s as simple as learning what RSS is. For others, maybe it means being encouraged to go get a degree in Computer Science. The point is, I hope that it lessens the intimidation factor for a group of people that can sometimes fall victim to a “Math is hard, let’s go shopping” mentality. Keep in mind, this is coming from a girl who, in 4th grade, told her mother she hated math and wished it would die. So, despite the fact that I have ended up being a person who embraces technology at work and at home, I sure wish I would have gotten into it earlier and a lot more deeply.

So, when my husband sent me the link to the Geek Girls: Revenge of the Nerdettes story on, I began reading it with great interest. Yes! More geek girls! But, I found myself conflicted over the fact that the real reason these women are getting attention seems to be that they are smart and hot. If they were simply smart, that really wouldn’t be enough. They are smart and hot. They tell you that right away, in the subhead of the story, “Meet the Nerd Girls: they’re smart, they’re techie and they’re hot.”

On the one hand, I have no problem with this. Heck, I enjoy high heels and lip gloss as much as the next girl —assuming the next girl is not my co-Geek Nancy, who enjoys neither. AND THAT IS MY POINT. Whether or not you wear high heels or lip gloss should have no bearing on the attention you garner for your brainpower. So, shout out to Danica McKellar for writing “Math Doesn’t Suck,” (because I sure wish I would have read that in the 4th grade), but did you really have to pose for Stuff magazine right after that?

I guess I find it simultaneously encouraging (yay, women going into math, science and engineering!) and depressing (boo, we still have to look good in a swimsuit to get attention!). So, the attention garnered is both serious and salacious. Which doesn’t seem to happen to our male geek counterparts (aside from all the freaks I know who worship Steve Jobs).

You tell me: am I taking this all too seriously?

Update 1/14/10: Yet another “hot girls who use technology” article is causing some waves. Vanity Fair’s article on America’s Tweethearts. Too bad they couldn’t afford to give those poor women pants for the photo shoot!