Silicon Valley has churned out solutions for many of society’s problems. But sexism isn’t one of them—especially in its own industry. To fight it, a group of female tech executives has employed a tactic that critics call a step backward: posing in their skivvies.
Underwear brand Dear Kate enlisted female tech-industry leaders to model its Ada Collection, a line named after Ada Lovelace, the 19th-century mathematician often credited as the world’s first computer programmer.
The ads feature the ladies sporting the “high performance underwear for high performance women,” typing away on laptops at the New York City headquarters of fashion website Refinery29.
One image of Quiessence Phillips, an information security professional, in lacy underwear includes this quote: “It is important to have more women in technology because women want to solve different problems—the kind that are life changing,”
Dear Kate has long eschewed traditional lingerie marketing by featuring nontraditional models. This campaign is no different: It portrays ambitious professionals in action. But Elissa Shevinsky, CEO of a tech start-up, is not impressed.
“In Silicon Valley, now more than ever, there is a tension between being seen in a romantic or sexual way and in a professional way,” she told Time. “Presenting yourself undressed has inherently sexual overtones, and undermines being seen as a serious technologist.”
Indeed, there are plenty of storied accounts of sexual harassment in the tech industry. In June, Whitney Wolfe filed a suit accusing her male colleagues at Tinder of sexual harassment and of taking away her title as a cofounder because it “makes the company seem like a joke.”
Shevinsky makes a justifiable point. But are women really the ones who need to watch their actions to avoid being victimized?
According to Phillips—who also mentors middle and high schoolers at Black Girls Code—the campaign could even inspire girls.
“We’re showing that women in tech come in all shapes and sizes,” she told Time.
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Original article from TakePart
- Ada Lovelace
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