Category Archives: Women

Learning to Code

I haven’t been posting much in recent weeks, but that’s only because I’ve been working hard at learning some new tech skills. As I mentioned some time last year, starting this blog really piqued my interest in learning how to customize websites, as the templates offered through WordPress are great but often limited and restrictive.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for an online course with Skillcrush, a new company focused on introducing more women to coding and technology (men are also welcome). It was such a positive experience, and I highly recommend the site to anyone interested in learning the basics of how to build a website. In a short amount of time, I learned so much that I was able to code this website from scratch!

But the best thing I got from this experience was discovering how much fun coding can be. I enjoyed learning so much that I’m all signed up to take a Intro class in PHP (language that powers Facebook and WordPress) starting Monday with Girl Develop It. I’ve also become really excited about this movement to get more women into tech, and I decided that I definitely want to be a part of it. So it seems that after years of searching for the right career, somehow it found me.

Let’s Meetup!

About a month ago I started a Meetup group for women. Before I go any further, I should explain that Meetup.com is a website that allows you to join or create local members-only groups based on interests, and to schedule group events called “meetups.” There are Meetup groups for just about any topic you can think of, and they are oddly specific. There are groups for Raw Vegan Singles, Jewish Cyclists, and Michael Jackson Fans. I belong to a group for Brooklyn girls and one for Paleo enthusiasts. More recently, I discovered a group that offers classes in web development for women. I’ve been to a few meetups and have always had a good time and learned something new.

When I created my own group, my goal was to gather women in their 20’s and 30’s who are not afraid to use the f-word (feminist), but who are not necessarily defined by it. I had no idea what to expect, but so far, the group has 12 members. I’ve organized two meetups, and there are others coming up in the next month. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a few of my members, and I have to say, it’s been an uplifting experience. We’ve had a lot of fun and laughs, as well as conversations about family, education, and career goals, which is exactly what I had hoped.

I would highly recommend checking out Meetup and giving it a shot. You’re not obligated to join any groups or attend any events, but you may be surprised to find that there are plenty of groups in your area that may be of interest to you–whether you want to make new friends, network with people in your line of work, play a sport, or just try something new.

Have you tried Meetup? What has been your experience with it?

This, Too, is What a Feminist Looks Like

schwasties

No Regrets!

Last week I had a conversation that left me quite disturbed. I became incensed when a male acquaintance of mine casually referred to one of my female friends as a “loose” woman. Later that day, I decided to really sit with that feeling and try to understand why it bothered me so much.

You might think that perhaps I was just standing up for my friend–that I was demanding respect for my girlfriend. But my anger felt much bigger than that. I guess my main concern was, if this young woman was judged so harshly for her sexual conduct, what does that mean for me? This and other questions ran through my mind, such as: What exactly is the criteria used to make such a judgment? Is it the number of partners she’s had? Is it how quickly she jumps into bed with a guy?

In asking myself these questions, I realized what the real problem was: There is no way to judge my friend for her sex life without also insulting me and, for that matter, countless other women who are not afraid of their sexuality. Furthermore, no one–especially not this particularly promiscuous male acquaintance–has the right to pass such judgment. And it really is a shame that in the year 2013, women are still having to deal with such archaic ideas.

I came to several conclusions after that conversation: First, that I have no regrets about taking the stand that I took in defending my friend. Second, I am not sure that I want to maintain a friendship with anyone who holds sexually liberated women in such contempt. Third, that I am incredibly fortunate to have a man in my life who loves me exactly as I am. And last, that I want to surround myself with like-minded people. As a result, I created a Meetup group in my city that is focused on redefining what it means to be a woman. I am not at all extroverted, but when I feel passionate about something, it can be highly motivating.

I am happy to report that, as of today, my group has about eight new members. I am hoping this can be the start of something positive and meaningful.

Circle of Five

A writer once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with?

Chelsea Handler: I’ve read some of her books and find her to be such an oddball, which is my favorite thing about her. She is clever and mischievous, but she also strikes me as a loyal and generous friend. That, and our mutual love of vodka would make us fast friends.

Mindy Kaling: She doesn’t take herself too seriously, which is refreshing to see in television. Given how chatty and bubbly she is, I imagine we’d never run out of things to talk about. I’d like to have her over for dinner. Or better yet, she could cook me some dinner.

Caitlin Moran: I loved How to be a Woman, where feminist Moran hilariously dissects womanhood. Moran is a music writer in the UK and regularly mingles with top artists. I think we’d have a blast discussing our feminist views and then partying with my favorite bands.

I find these ladies and their stories inspiring. I admire their ambition and their independence, but mostly I admire the fact that they do not compromise who they are, and have instead built careers that allow them to do what they love and stay true to themselves. Though I don’t know them personally, I am thankful that I have such brilliantly funny women to look up to.

I have some wonderful people currently in my life as well!

David: I wouldn’t trade my time with my boyfriend David for anyone. He is so good-natured, patient and forgiving. If I’m lucky, his positive traits will rub off on me. If they were to somehow, I think I’d be a better, happier person. Here’s hoping.

david

Laughs with David

Izzy: Do animals count? Izzy is my first pet. David and I have had him for about a year. This goofy dog has brought out patience in me that I didn’t know I had. He’s become part of my little family, and I can’t imagine my life without him. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll make a good mother one day. Until then, Izzy is helping me get there.

Sir Isaac “Izzy” Newton