It totally slipped my mind to share it with anyone except the friend who suggested it.

So it's not a big deal in any sense, but I did find it interesting. First for some back story.

One of my closest chick friends is in school for physics. Damned if I remember the specific branch of physics (I want to say astrophysics but I'm not 100% sure) but at the end of the day she wants to be a physicist. She's also a feminist and just fucking AWESOME in general, and much like me is pretty "feminine" in her appearance (dresses, makeup, heels, etc). She's also the one friend, along with my best friend, who is insanely supportive about me going into research. Because she fucking loves science and one of her goals is to get more girls and women into STEM fields. She's absolutely brilliant and she doesn't look like a stereotypical "nerd," even though she's more nerdy in her interests than any guy nerd I've met, including Consort.

So one of the things we often talk about is the idea in society that being "feminine" and into science (or math) are deemed mutually exclusive. That because we're attractive and like "girly" things like makeup and shoes, people often assume we're dumb. I'm not saying this outweighs the privilege one has from being conventionally attractive, but it is definitely A Thing. She told me that any time she tells someone, mostly men, that she's in physics there is a...weird reaction. She said there's always a pause in the conversation. Like it's not expected, or almost like they don't believe her. She said she also gets the impression that many men she meets are intimidated by this, because a lot will cut the conversation short once she tells them she wants to be a physicist, or they'll try to dig themselves out of the hole.

I told her how that's interesting because I don't experience that telling people I'm in school for English and journalism. So she goes to me:

Try it one of these days. You're basically checked out of journalism anyway and going to go back for pre-med. Next time anyone, especially a guy, asks you what you're in school for tell them you're pre-med and planning on going into biomedical research. Look for the pause.


So I did try it, a couple of times. I tried it with two cab drivers, three gym members and a worker at Petco. All men.

And she was right! Every single one, once I told them I'm pre-med and going into medical research, just...stops and looks at me like they're a deer in headlights. A couple did just stop the conversation entirely, and the rest tried to salvage it but were obviously uncomfortable. I had never had that happen when I told anyone I was in school for journalism.


This whole thing just dawned on me because of the mainpage article on successful women.

So weird, and I wonder why that is. I wonder if it is based solely on my appearance (not just how attractive they find me, but also because I have tattoos and piercings) or if it is solely because I'm a woman.


I don't really have an answer, and obviously this is a very small sample pool, I just found it interesting and wanted to share it with you all.