Where Logic Meets Love

I Hem Who I Hem

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

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I'm currently in a programming class where I'm the only female. I don't have a problem with this; I'm comfortable in a group of guys. However, I try to avoid drawing attention to the gender difference just because I want to be recognized for my ability and not set apart from everyone else.

So for our most recent assignment, we had to come up with two classes -- basically, categories of objects -- and write a short program with them.  Our stipulations were that the classes couldn't be similar to the examples from Monday's lecture (dog and chair) and they couldn't be related to each other. The idea was to generate as many unique attributes as possible.

Our instructor suggested using something we know a lot about because we'll be using this for future projects. Unfortunately most of the things I came up (like knitting) kind of screamed "female."

On the way home I was looking around for ideas and saw a guy wearing a red shirt, and I was like, "Oh, shirt. That's a generic thing."

Then I tried to come up with something that was nothing like shirt. I came up with pasta. Everyone likes pasta, right?

I didn't realize my mistake until we were going over everyone's homework in class. Part of the assignment was to write methods (actions) that things in that category can do or have done to them that will change their attributes somewhat.

The attributes I'd come up with were that the shirt had a color and a sleeve-length. Pasta had a noodle length and a total amount of pasta. So what methods did I come up with?

Why, you can "chop" the pasta to cut the noodle length in half, and you can "dye" and "hem" the shirt!


The thing is, I feel so far removed from some female stereotypes that I don't recognize them as applying to me until I'm in a room full of men. Yet now that I think about it, what are the chances that one of the guys in my class would come up with "hem" as a method? It may not be something I myself do, but I still come up with it probably more readily than any of them would.

I don't know, I just find it funny that even as much as I try not to distinguish myself by my gender, I can't help being who I am.


  1. Ya know, I don't think it's THAT feminine. Maybe the methods you used were, but everyone wears a shirt and almost everyone eats pasta. A man might have said "cook" for pasta and "wash" for the shirt. Women are usually more descriptive with words, whereas most men are "quick and dirty" when talking about things. Now, maybe if one of your classmates was the son of a tailor, you might have heard "hem." Or, had it been a poetry or creative writing class, you would have had more descriptive language. Trying really hard NOT to stereotype here, but...this is a programming class! Our programmer at work is not the most verbose person ;-)

  2. @Rabbit
    Yeah, that's what I was attempting to say. I picked those classes because I thought they were generic and genderless, and then I went and used feminine-type methods on them. Whoops :) It's possible a guy would use those words, but... probably not any of the guys in my class, haha.


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