Asher Wolf
Dec 7, 2015 · 3 min read

So IBM Wants Me To Hack My Hairdryer.

Hell, fine then. Let’s do it live.

Just let me just finish putting on make-up, moisturise, complete a 40 minute work-out, straighten my hair, prepare breakfast, get the six-year-old Kiddlette off to school, put on a load of laundry, do the dishes, check my emails from possible employers responding to the squillion job applications I sent out yesterday, and then fuck yeah, I’ll sit right down and begin hacking my hairdryer. Ironically of course.

“Innovation doesn’t know what you look like,” says IBM.

But recruiters do. The people who offer work introductions and internships and invites to drinks and networking events, damn woman, they want you to look fine, like yaaaaaas queen slay when you stalk in and show them all your long-legged agile disruption. Either that, or they want 30 years of skills in engineering and a Github full of programming experience.

“Innovation doesn’t doesn’t care where you’re from. All that matters are ideas,” says IBM.

Oh goody. Meritocracy. And we all know how inclined investors are to shower money on a single mother who’s just learnt to use a screw-driver on a hair dryer? Because the halls of power are filled with marginalised and vulnerable people who merited power and privilege, right?

Really, all that matters are ideas? I dunno, somehow, practical realities crowd in. Like bill paying — when after months of trying, I still haven’t learnt to code — and now face the posibility of looking unpresentable at job interviews, because I took my hair dryer to pieces to… stick it to the man?

Will you still love me if my hair is frizzy? If I can’t hack my hair-dryer into a remote nuclear launch device?

My $240 piece of electronics dedicated to making me look socially acceptable - sure, why not, I’ll take a screw-driver to it and turn it into a glorified cheese-melter, or a maybe a starter mechanism for a Rube Goldberg machine. Because we’re hacking gender stereotypes.

This isn’t just some ‘moar wimmin in STEM plox’ gimmick from IBM’s human resources, right?

Yeah, I’ll hack the planet with my hair-dryer, but sardonically of course. Maybe with some hardcore punk music playing in the background and a long-shot of my moon-cup on a work-bench behind me, just to show the world a girl like me doesn’t really need a hair-dryer or traditional menstrual hygiene products or even a proper STEM education to make it into some lip-service campaign from a massive tech company where the taps in the corporate head-office bathroom tally to more than her net worth.

You and me, IBM, we’re gonna change the world. Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear.

It’s the work that counts right? The ideas. And as a 35 year old single mother with no maths skills past year nine in high school, and no capacity to finish a basic introductory course in coding… yeah, why not, I’m sure to be able to figure out how to rewire a hair-dryer to hack NASA. That’ll show them, all those boys, who said I couldn’t.

Because I’m going to wow you with my bright ideas, all the way into the board room or the science lab, I’m going to be a can-do girl, yeah, I’ll do it while wearing a potato sack and my Bachelor of Arts certificate over my cunt, ignoring gender stereotypes all the way through the glass ceiling. Hell, chuck away my make-up while I do it too.

I’m too busy to cook dinner, or vacuum, and someone else is going to have to pick my kid up from school, I’m teaching myself how to use a soldering iron on the living-room floor.

Yeah, I’m hacking my hairdryer into a bowel disruptor, I’m done with this lip-service gender-campaign bullshit. First demonstration sooooooon.

Asher Wolf

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