Updated: Mar 8
Story by Upasana Sasidharan
Considering Dalit women and other religious minorities who have had it much worse, mine was comparatively better. The journey of having a career in the STEM field brought in a lot of mansplaining.
By this I mean I had to prove my worth and intellect at every phase. In the attempt to degrade my presence, I used to be questioned the most basic things from the subject. The questions were not just raised by my co-members but the juniors as well.
It does not stop there. I have a good hold on my English. Which makes people say that, where ever I stand now is just because of my word play and not subject knowledge.
Though being able to converse in English is a privilege, I have faced problem when people make fun of my accent when I speak in Hindi.
One of the misconceptions people have is that women are just good in Biology and not in Physics, Chemistry or Math. This statement does not have any base, in fact it just portrays the mentality of the society.
I have also come across people telling me that it is hard to work with a female co-worker than a male as she is much moodier. I feel we should understand and normalize that mood swings happen in either genders.
Some of the days when I feel diffident, I prefer dressing up a little. Probably my version of cheering up myself. But in the field of STEM somehow, being feminine is automatically related to being dumb.
The society has generalized intellect on the basis of certain appearance. If one dresses up, he or she does not have the face of being a science student.
Breaking all myths, we have seen Jennifer Doudna an American Biochemist, who won the Nobel prize in Chemistry. During the facilitation she wore a beautiful gown. This was inspirational for many out there and set a very important message that: one should not be judged on the basis of appearance.
Normalizing self-presentation, the way we want is a must. In my case, dressing up does boost my confidence and will in itself spike my performance graph.