“Coding Like a Girl”

It’s one kind of progress for people to agree with the statement “Women can be anything they want.” It combats a kind of sexism called oppositional sexism. But there’s another kind of sexism, traditional sexism, that we’ve made less progress on. You could get more people to agree that women can be anything they want than to agree that femininity is as valuable as masculinity.

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My friend Rose recently blogged about “being a woman in tech.” It’s a great read about her personal experiences with sexism and how she handles it. Also, the article quoted above was found via Rose’s post.

I don’t work in tech, obviously, but like Rose (who I went to high school with) I was a self-taught coder, a female nerd. I still am, actually, and proud of it, even if it’s not at a professional level.

(Edited to add: I too experienced various shades of sexism in regards to my interest in programming, science, or even Star Trek. But I’ve also been admired or embraced by people for those same interests. It’s not all bad, and no one is trying to say it is. Anyway, I didn’t want to go into too much of my own history, because I’d rather you read the two pieces I linked to.)

My computer science journey ended during my sophomore year of college, when I dropped it as a double-major because I was tired of staying up all night on my computer. Between writing stories for my fiction classes and coding for my programming classes, it was non-stop screen-time, and that just wasn’t sustainable for me. Plus, I realized that I had always been more interested in the design side of things, and programming was (mostly) just a means to that end.

Nowadays, I indulge my web design hobby here. It’s perfect, because this space is meant to be a reflection of me anyway. Speaking of which: ta da! In case you hadn’t noticed, things look a bit different around here.




Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 9.05.43 AM

As much as I loved those hand-drawn icons, it was time to go mobile-friendly. The new design is built on the framework of WordPress’s lovely Sela theme, and it should look pretty snappy no matter what kind or size of device you’re reading on.

(If you see anything wonky, it’s probably on accident, so just let me know and I’ll take a look.)

I decided to outsource the bulk of the coding by using a pre-made theme, but I still had to do a lot of tweaking. I got to learn about breakpoints — which mark where and how the design should change for different screen sizes — as well as about the specialized web font Genericons. It’s just too bad they don’t have a character for GoodReads. I had to use a book icon instead of the official logo.

Also, I finally did away with the BlogHer ads. I used to enjoy being part of that network, largely because they did a good job sending traffic around, so there were always new people coming here, and new blogs for me to discover. But that feature hasn’t been around for over a year now, and the ad income only partway covers my hosting costs, so I just didn’t see the benefit anymore.

As with all things shiny and new, the redesign will probably lure me here to blog more often in the coming weeks. Maybe. I hope. Because there’s still more to be said about my trip to Taiwan, not to mention all the thought-provoking media I’ve been watching and reading. Stories. Whether mine or other people’s, that’s what I always come back to.

10 responses to “On being a girl geek, and a new look for the site”

  1. t. S. Bazelli Avatar

    Reading on my phone and it does look good :) and being a woman in tech myself… It’s all the little things that add up rather than much overt opposition – except on the Internet.

    1. Kristan Avatar

      Thanks, that’s good to hear!

      Yes, exactly: the kind of sexism (and racism) that many people face today is far smaller or more subtle, and thus much harder to combat. (Except on the internet, where people seem to think it’s OK to be terrible.) :(

      It will be amazing someday when the majority of negative gendered expectations are behind us.

  2. Shari Avatar

    I love the new look! :)

    1. Kristan Avatar

      Thanks, Shari! While I was searching for themes to use as a foundation, I kept seeing the one that you use, and I was tempted to use it because it’s so pretty/cute!

  3. rose Avatar

    looks great :)

  4. Anthony Lee Collins Avatar

    I’ve looked at the new layout in mobile and regular (“immobile”?) and it looks really good both ways. Very clean and modern. I like it.

    Talking about gender expectations, I read an article a few years ago about a big one that had never even occurred to me (or to a lot of other people either, apparently).

    A lot of New York City apartment buildings have doormen. And those doormen are, overwhelmingly, doorMEN. So overwhelmingly that mostly you never think about it. But there were, at the time the article was written, a couple of doorwomen (see, it even sounds weird) and they reported that a very common reaction, other than pleasant surprise, was that people, seeing them, realized how much they had accepted, without thinking, that it was, for some reason, a male-only job.

    Another example is in my current blog post (under the parts about Leonard Nimoy), where I describe going to the sports page on the CNN web site and scrolling all the way down and looking at all the photographs on the page. Every single person pictured on that page was male. So, as I describe, it was a kick to read an article, not at CNN, which said that, at this point in history, the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world may be a woman. Not a sentence you read every day. :-)

    1. Kristan Avatar

      Thanks, Anthony! :) You’re right: I’ve totally never thought about doorwomen. But I don’t see what difference it should make? The athletics thing is more often on mind, as am I a sports fan (especially football) and I don’t think there are easy answers around equality there.

      1. Anthony Lee Collins Avatar

        My ex-wife was an equestrian, and she did point out that the equestrian events are the only Olympic games where women compete against men. That’s not why she was into it, but she did like the idea that you could possibly be the best, not the “womens” (or “ladies”) best.

  5. linda Avatar

    Love the new look! Saw it first on mobile and definitely appreciated the responsiveness. I always wanted to code more and really appreciated the opportunity I had to teach myself while working on our company’s website. Now that I’ll have more time on my hands I’d love to set up my own website to play with. Which hosting service do you currently use?

    1. Kristan Avatar


      I’ve used ICDSoft for years and love it. Simple, stable, and excellent customer service. It’s not the cheapest, but because my friend Albert and I have so many accounts with them, we get a discount, lol. Let me know if you’re interested in that, but if not, no worries!

      I use GoDaddy for the domain, and WordPress for the content management.