What it’s like to have a vagina when you work in a penis-dominated industry


When I think of college I think of the one kid who randomly handed me a red solo cup full of shrooms once, how weird it was, and how people outside of college don’t pass out copious amounts of drugs for free. But I also think about the late nights that I slaved over my computer, crashing from caffeine and ADHD meds (yes I was prescribed) and trying to learn the crystalline structures of minerals, master thermodynamics, make derivatives my bitch, and pretend to like physics. All of this to earn a B.S. in Geology, to be one with the rocks and soils of the earth. To help provide clean drinking water to humans. And the list goes on. The point? I worked very hard. For me. For my dreams.

I graduated college over two years ago and began searching for a job. I applied to over 100 companies. Nobody tells you how hard it is to land an entry level job that requires at least 5 years of experience.

I landed a job offer and accepted it immediately. Naturally, i had to go buy some outfits to look the part. What is “the part” I wanted to look? Smart. I wanted to look smart. So I bought masculine clothing, because, ya know, masculine equals smart. I walked into work on my first day hoping to impress everyone, hoping that everyone would think I was studious. Maybe they’d even think I had a hidden penis in my pants. Extra bonus. So — I swayed into work. I had heavy leather boots with buckles on the ankles, corduroy pants that were far from fitted and could have hidden packets of beef jerky, a big thick leather belt, a plaid moisture-wicking Eddie Bauer button up, layered with a moisture-wicking active blazer, some glasses, and a tight pony tail. I looked like I was sent in to tackle a crocodile that broke into the office. If you enjoy those clothes, fine. But I wasn’t dressing like that because I enjoyed those clothes, I just thought that maybe people would think I was smart if I looked like a man. Or not like a woman.

Two and a half years later, I’m at a different company. And a different place in my life.

I wear what-ever-the-fuck I want now. If I want to look sexy, I look sexy. If I want to wear lip stick, I lather that shit on (purple is my favorite). If my boobs show, cool. If my butt looks too good (it happens sometimes), that’s cool too. And on the days that I do look like a crocodile hunter, that’s also OK — because I chose to. And that happens on accident sometimes when you’re a geologist. My point is, I’m well aware that masculinity does not equal intelligence. Do I think that every man who sees me in feminine clothing respects me now and thinks I’m smart? Absolutely not. But I don’t give a damn and I’m here to show them just how intelligent I am, and then crush them. And do better than them.

At my first job out of college, I had my male supervisor ask me if I knew how to use a hammer. Yes, like that thing you just hit stuff with. That same man had a problem with my lipstick, so I made sure to wear it extra bright (like my future). He also told me once to “go buy a pair of work pants, since women don’t have work pants laying around”. I’m not sure what he thinks I had been doing field work in that whole time? A thong? A leotard? A kimono? Fucking idiot.

I wish I could go back in time and know this before I graduated- but that is life. We live and we learn. And we are better for it. To the woman reading this: you don’t have to be a man to be smart, respectable, professional, trust worthy, or studious. You, and all of your glorious female anatomy, are genius. We are badass. We BIRTH humans. Our breasts literally keep babies alive. We are emotionally in tune with the earth, other people, ourselves. We have the energy to go all day and chase and accomplish our goals, and then turn around and give 100% to the people we love and build them up strong. We are nurturers, Warriors. We go our entire lives being told we are not smart enough, not strong enough, not brave enough, not man enough, and then we shatter those expectations and we go beyond what we knew we were capable of. We excel despite being told we cannot. We come together and strengthen one another. We are divine. And we are women- and we should wear our womanhood as a badge of honor.

Whatever being a woman means to you, embrace it. Flaunt it. Own it. You are intelligent and brave. If you want to look like a crocodile hunter, that’s totally fine. Just don’t tell yourself you have to.

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