Friday, June 14, 2013

Vox writing back to a young female engineer


AA inquires concerning some inexplicable views that she finds both contradictory and insulting:

Dear Sir,

I don't think you'll answer me, or read my message... But this is worth a try. I will try very hard to keep polite about all this. It will be difficult, but I'll try.

See, I'm a young woman. I'm currently 20 years old and a student in environmental engineering in one of the best engineering schools in the world. I got in fair and square. I didn't get a special grant for being female or any favors. I have to work my butt off to get good grades in fluid mechanics, calculus, environmental chemistry...

I have had the opportunity to read some of the posts you've written in your blog and I feel very insulted by them. What happened to you that made your brain go this wrong? How can you claim that women's rights are wrong? You defend forbidding abortion by claiming unborn children of rape merit all "the legal protections and rights afforded all other human beings", yet claim that women shouldn't have those same rights because we "ruin everything"?

I am working hard to be an engineer. My goal in life isn't to get married or to stay at home and take care of the children. I am not here on this planet to serve a man and raise his children. I have my own goals and my own motivations.

I would continue, but I have finals to prepare and I've lost enough of my time on you already.

I would wish you a nice day, but it would be a lie.
Dear AA,

First of all, as a young woman studying engineering, you have very likely been granted special favors whether you know it or not.  All those programs designed to encourage young women like you to pursue a career in engineering exist for a reason.  And the reason is that most women just don't enjoy engineering the way men do.  You're obviously smart, you can do the schoolwork, but it is unlikely that you will want to do the real thing for very long.  Assuming you don't drop out in favor of an easier discipline before you graduate, the probabilities indicate that you won't spend much time actually working as an engineer; you'll soon be moved into some sort of management or marketing position.  Whether you have been told as much or not, that is the conventional path for smart, educated women like you in the corporate world.

 There is no shame in that.  I started out in engineering myself.  I had the ability, but not the aptitude, and quickly switched to a field I vastly preferred.  If you're smart enough, you'll likely figure that out before long. Whatever you do, don't waste your life doing something you don't really enjoy simply because you are capable of doing it.  Remember that actual engineering is very, very different than studying engineering, and being very good at the latter is not necessarily indicative of real interest in the former.

Now I'm going to teach you a hard, but very important lesson.  You see, I don't care how you feel.  I really don't.  More importantly, neither does anyone else.  Only about 200 people on a planet of 7 billion actually care about your feelings, and that's if you're lucky.  The sooner you grasp this lesson, the better off you will be.  And since almost no one gives a damn what you do, say, think, or feel, appealing to your feelings when you encounter differences of opinion is not only illogical, but useless.

More @ Vox Popoli


  1. The self-ordained "voice of the people" would do well to also learn a lesson I was taught 30 years ago. Nobody gives a damn what I or he thinks. Women feel. Men think. Same thing. I worked over under and with many graduate women engineers. Never knew that any of the stuff VP says rules even existed. Wonder how I ever got to be an engineer. But then, maybe it's different in this century. I only worked in the last one.

    1. maybe it's different in this century. I only worked in the last one.


  2. Replies
    1. :) I certainly wouldn't attempt to match wits with him.