“Because you’re a girl”

“You can get whatever you want because you’re a girl” or “you don’t know anything about sports because you’re a girl”. I discovered that “because you’re a girl” is an insult.

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First of all I’m not looking to “overthrow men” or anything like that. I’m a egalitarian. I believe that we all belong here and we are capable of doing the same work. I want to get hired because of my skills just like everyone else.

I started to really dislike when someone told me “because you’re a girl.” I’ve researched about sexism without looking to become a feminazi and now I have a better understanding of why “because you’re a girl” gets on my nerves. And no, it’s not a “hormones thing” nor I am being “over sensitive”.

A few months ago a man told me “well, this men will talk to you, because you’re a girl.”It was a red flag and, after that I started paying more attention. Every time I opened my mouth, this guy’s eyes were looking straight to my chest. First I thought I was being paranoid, but then it kept happening. Someone I was supposed to admire and look up to, yet his eyes almost never meet mine.

I started an experiment. I changed the way I dressed, I stopped wearing fitted dresses or makeup. Nothing. Apparently all that I am are my breasts. And no, that is NOT flattering. Because when I am presenting something I don’t want your eyes looking to my chest, I want to be treated as an equal. I’ve earned that. This nasty behavior won’t make the world a better place. This can’t  belong to the Silicon Valley I want my kids to grow up in.

Well, “because I am a girl” I decided to write about it. My beautiful Silicon Valley, filled with innovation, with creativity and people “who are determined to change the world”, is treating women very poorly. In fact, as a woman who worked in tech related businesses I think it’s time to snap all these guys out of their inappropriate and gross behavior. We are not objects, we are not our gender, we work hard, we create, we are innovators too. I have met women who are amazing engineers, entrepreneurs, marketers, and coders. We are as eager to change the world as the rest. This is our world too.

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I suddenly became really aware of this, the name calling because the way we dress or the way we relate to others. I keep thinking I’m nice not because I’m a girl, I’m nice because I’m a human being, because I treat people the way I want to be treated. Just because I’m polite or nice that isn’t an invitation to make passes at me. The way I dress isn’t an invitation for ogling. I’m not “asking for it”. Admiring the female form because we are works of art? No thanks! I’m not an object, I am a person and a married one BTW.

On the bright side (because there’s always one) I grew stronger and I met all these amazing women who had similar experiences and we feel that this will change. More and more are joining tech companies, studying engineering, programming, founding startups and being awesome at it. We are all working on that. My husband, who is the least sexist person in the world told me “you know what, we need more women here, because we need balance, we need order and creativity, men are messy”. Some men I talked to also were very understanding and supportive, some of them have daughters, sisters, wives, all of them treat women as equals. Shocking, right?

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