Austin, TX April 25, 2015
Crop Tops in Boardrooms: Viewing Youth, Expression, and Achievement through Gender

The image of the boy genius in his hoodie is iconic in tech. But what does the girl genius wear? Youth is worshiped in this field, but being very smart and very young as a women in technology is much different than being a young, successful man. I’ll start by examining the different appearance expectations of young men and women in technology, including how women are penalized for not fitting a narrow mold (or: Is no makeup or too much makeup going to make people stare more?). Next, I’ll move into how the media representation (and perpetuation) of the Tech Boy Genius trope establishes a cultural touchstone, while the female equivalent is far, far rarer. Finally, we’ll look at how this cultural trope lets employers, recruiters, and investors safely view youth as a positive trait in men, while being more apprehensive about it in women (or: a list of people who’ve told you to pay your dues).