The local Dallas magazine, called D Magazine, hosts a contest each year for the “10 Most Beautiful Women in Dallas”. Each week, for four weeks, they post pictures and bios for 5 Dallas women. The voted top three from each week culminate into 12 women being voted for the 10 spots. The rules are “Contestants must be 21 years of age or older and residents of North Texas. And, obviously, easy on the eyes.” Oh D Magazine, you’re so witty. I’m going to mostly skip over the feminist rant I could do about the fact that this contest even exists. The women are initially selected through nominations by the public and the editors. The winners get nothing except the pride of saying they were voted one of the most beautiful women of Dallas. A real resume builder.
So what five women do we have to vote on this week? All of them are skinny, conventionally attractive (a phrase Taylor and I like to use), and have long flowing hair. Man, look at that diversity. No one is wearing glasses. No one is even a little overweight. No one has shorter hair. It probably makes little girls feel good to see that beauty is being defined by so little in appearance. You could say that ethnically speaking, they tried to be diverse: 3 white people and 2 Asians. The jobs are lacking in diversity too: a model, a fashion blogger, health-care consultant, bartender, and a freelance writer. I do not have a problem with any of these jobs – I just want to know where the science, technology, engineering and mathematics women are. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe next week will be 5 engineers. But let’s try and be a little bit more diverse on the job front here for the selection process. That way, maybe I could have avoided these situations below:
- “So are you an English major?” (random guy at Georgia Tech)
- “I would have thought YOU were the teacher.” (Starbucks guy when I told him what Taylor and I do for a living)
- “Wow, you don’t look like an engineer!”
The last one I have gotten multiple multiple multiple multiple times. I realize some people intend this as a compliment but it is actually incredibly insulting. I’m sure some people may not particularly like the fact that I am offended by someone thinking I am some form of a liberal arts major. I want to clarify that I have no problem with liberal arts majors and what they do (Hi sister and brother!). The problem I have is that people are still making assumptions about our occupations based on how we look. Yes, my field of work did used to be predominantly male. But my engineering grad school classes had more women then men in them. My grad school advisor was female. My current supervisor is female. My supervisor’s supervisor is female. My supervisor’s supervisor’s supervisor is female. People do what they want because of what they are passionate about in life and not because of how they look. Except maybe models. And Hooters girls.
So a post that I intended to just be a discussion on a stupid contest really took a turn there, didn’t it?