[Editors' note: We first met the delightful Numidas Prasarn last year at the Coilhouse Ball in NYC. Numi is a Brooklyn-based artist and producer who has cut her teeth on a multitude of mediums and roles in the fashion and photography worlds. She's obsessed with fashion theory, and with creating avenues for people to gain aesthetic control of their lives/find their voices. You can find her on Twitter @OhThatNumi, and at her portfolio site, numiempire.com.]
Fe Maidens, setting up for competition. (via)
There has been a fair amount of rage surrounding sexism and the science/engineering/tech/VG industries in recent months, and for good reason. Controversies such as the harassment connected to Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter campaign, the Boston API Jam , the Dell Moderator debacle, and even this NY Times Article with its baffling “Men invented the Internet” opener (read Xeni Jardin’s great reply on the subject), coincidentally about a sexual harassment suit in a Silicon Valley firm, make it hard to ignore. And while the backlash that follows these controversies brings out scores of positive support and appropriate outrage, the stories of othering and exclusion remain. The truth is, finding a positive female role model in these industries is difficult for outsiders (and sadly, some insiders), largely because their contributions are downplayed, or even silenced.
So how do we make sure the next generation gets fair play? This film is aiming to give some people hope:
Drive Like a Girl is a short documentary following the Fe Maidens (sometimes called the Fe26 Iron Maidens)– an all-girl robotics team from the Bronx High School of Science. Regional champions in the robotics competition held by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the Iron Maidens had six weeks to build and program two robots and compete in a male-dominated tournament.
On one hand it’s refreshing to see these young girls unabashedly go for it, suppored by an organization that encourages them to explore. Their excitement is infectious. On the other hand, it’s heartbreaking watching these high-schoolers confront the same issues they are bound face as they continue down their paths. It starts early, and it starts small.
Or… perhaps it’s a little more sad knowing that the professional world is sometimes exactly like high school.