Life: feels like this outrageous immersive summer camp my gay moms signed me up for.
Follow me @Emmatattenbaum. Illustrations by http://leahaviva.tumblr.com.
We are standing in line behind the red velvet curtain. I’ve got my pink and white striped blazer on with the sleeves rolled to just below my elbow. The audience is pumped and I know this because they’re chattering at just that pitch, amplitude and frequency that in turn drives me toward readiness. My adrenaline has reached a fine level, an ideal level, I’m not too nervous, but I’m jazzed enough to feel totally alive.
We have rehearsed and what we have to share is funny and sharp and beautiful and poignant: it’s all the things I want it to be. And just before we walk past the curtain, marking that unique transition from backstage to onstage, I feel the beginning of an orgasm, just about as much as you might feel with a sneeze.
The knowledge that I can get this just from heading out onto a stage where I belong with all my people around me and a crowd of strangers too, it’s a feeling of connectedness with everything and everyone on this particular evening. I am not afraid. I’m free and in command of my pounding heart.
I’d never bungee jump, but I bet it feels like this. Ready to fall into the unknown, but sure of the cord that holds you.
I had my first hangover the day I saw a Maurice Sendak exhibit at The Jewish Museum. I didn’t realize it was a hangover. I thought that Sendak’s depictions of the Jewish ghetto were so visceral that they made me nauseous.
Then I threw up and thought, “But also… whiskey?”
“Girls Who Code aims to provide computer science education and exposure to 1 million young women by 2020.” –girlswhocode.com
Here’s my interview with 18-year-old Girls Who Code alumna, Roxy Banik.
I remember that on the first day of science class in middle school, we were asked to draw a scientist on a blank sheet of paper. Practically everyone in the class drew a nerdy male in a white lab coat holding a test tube, when in reality, anyone can be a scientist. It’s no different with computer science. Many girls envision a computer scientist to be a geeky male wearing a plaid shirt typing away at his computer, which deters them from trying.
You’re a design gal, so what did you draw?
I hate to say it, but I also drew a male at the time. What’s funny is that I actually was asked to do this same exercise during a summer program, and that time, I made sure to draw a female scientist. : )
I bet I would have drawn Einstein or some crazy dude with white hair all over the place, who never showers because he is busy with ideas.
However, now if I were asked, after talking to you, I would not be caught dead drawing that. Progress JUST happened.
Sheryl Sandberg talks about stereotype threat, which is the idea that people who are made aware of negative stereotypes are more likely to perform in accordance with those stereotypes. We see this in so many contexts, but it’s especially prevalent in the field of computer science.
It’s time to rewire our brains to recognize both males and females as mathematicians, scientists, etc.
Did your idea of what makes a computer scientist change overnight or were there confidence hiccups along the way?
Roxy’s team’s first place winning game from Spring Break Game Jam
I think it’s possible for anyone, male or female, to be intimidated by a new concept. The difference with Girls Who Code is that we were encouraged to acknowledge this reality instead of ignore it. We took it upon ourselves to support another girl if she felt nervous presenting or pitching.
We were encouraged to struggle together and fail, whereas in a school setting (which often tends to be co-ed), there can be a competitive nature among students that no one does anything about.
Twitter field trip
How do you define yourself? I say, “I’m a comedian and writer.” Who are you in brief?
I’m a graphic designer and coder. I’ve been obsessed with Photoshop since I was in sixth grade. #cantstopwontstop
Programming Arduinos: a Project of the Week during Girls Who Code
What makes you angry?
I’ve had a male family member tell me, “I’m a male in finance. You’ll never make more money than me.”
Oh, so you have to make more money than him. He made that so easy for you!
Going into a career field where females are underrepresented means developing emotional resilience for when someone reminds you of it. His comment might be the first of many.
Right, it’s a practice round for when you move to Silicon Valley.
My biggest support system is my family at Girls Who Code.
The guidance and support doesn’t end once the eight weeks are over.
I feel so lucky to be a part of a group of people where I’ve experienced no negativity whatsoever. Coming from a competitive high school, the program was the first time I felt as though every single person in the room was rooting for me.
The girls make positivity posters for each coder to get her head in the game.
I remember that competitive school feeling. It does, in retrospect, seem less useful than the idea of struggle and failure, which is more conducive to learning and represents the “real world” a lot better.
Field trip to the New York Stock Exchange
In Reshma Saujani’s [founder of Girls Who Code] Makers interview, she says that we live in a society that’s ashamed of failure. It’s not easy to welcome failure, but by embracing it, we relieve ourselves of the pressure to perform flawlessly and we become more fearless. Adopting this outlook has made me approach new experiences with the mindset: I’m here to do my best and to learn, not just to win something.
When you are a CEO, what will the mission of your company be?
The mission of my company will be to encourage employees and people to do what scares them. Progress comes with disruption, so you should never be afraid to try something new.
YAAAS! I hope I have some money to invest in your company when the time comes. As of right now I’d have to invest in office snacks….
I’m a Welch’s addict, so that’d be wonderful!
Ok! I can spring for some gummy snacks. I think they taste terrible, but whatever, it’s your office!
Circe: Sleep with me. I’m a witch/goddess.
Odysseus: Yeah. I like your singing voice. Listen—
Circe: I knew it.
Odysseus: I haven’t said anything.
Circe: I knew you’d bring it up.
Odysseus: You turned my men into pigs!
Circe: …Are you mad?
Odysseus: Yeah, I’m mad! And I have a hard time getting it up knowing that half my fleet has been turned into livestock.
Circe: Do you though? Have a hard time—
Odysseus: —No, I’m actually… pretty turned on right now.
Circe: Mkay. Let’s F— in my goddess/witch bed and sort out the pig thing later.
Odysseus: Ok BUT, for the record, when you feed me afterward I’m gonna be pretty stressed and unable to eat.
Circe: Will you though?
Odysseus: … No, I’ll probably be pretty hungry.
Interesting how, after sex with a man, a woman wants to know his soul and everything about him, when really there’s nothing there.
While a man, after sex with a woman, loses interest, when that’s only the beginning of what she has to offer.
Upon hearing this melancholic diatribe, Leah sips her wine and smiles:
"In lesbian sex, everybody comes."
CALYPSO is like: Odysseus— I’m SO MUCH HOTTER than your wife. Just stay on this island forever and let’s be immortal together. I can totally arrange it.
ODYSSEUS: There is NO QUESTION that you are hotter than my wife, in large part because you have immortality/eternal youth/sick sick braids. However, I can’t stay here as a sex slave, especially now that Hermes has flown over the ocean and said I have a shot at getting home.
CALYPSO: We’ve been shagging consensually/enthusiastically for seven years and I’ve been cooking for you. Also I’m a goddess. Was none of that, like, a thing for you?
ODYSSEUS: Oh yeah, no. …Sorry if I led you on! Speaking of which: do you have any indestructible fabric you could turn into magical clothes for me?
ODYSSEUS: Cool, I figured.
CALYPSO: Look, I’m having a rough time with this. Wanna F- once more in my sweet sweet cave/bedroom before we spend four days building your shitty raft that’s obvi gonna capsize?
ODYSSEUS: Yeah, I could get into that. For old time’s sake.