Is This Thing On?



I’m Jess. I am a 39-year-old socially awkward White CIS female. I live in Michigan with my husband and two dogs, and love my flannel pants more than I love most people. I am a middle-manager in an academic and IT context, which can, from time to time, run counter to nearly everything I’ve just told you. That’s why I’m here.

Here’s the dish. A quick, super-scientific Google image search for the term “leader” (of COURSE safe search was activated… this time) that I just did returned the following delightful and holistic representation of my field.

the images that are returned when a google image search is done on leadership is completely male dominated
Seriously? Seriously. Thanks, dude-Google.

Wow. I can totally see myself in that! Yeah, no, that’s bullshit. I am not:

  1. Male.
  2. Reminiscent of Fischer-Price children’s figures
  3. Prone to standing in front of my team with my arms crossed while they line up behind me, an army of willing go-getters
  4. One who looks good in a necktie

Maybe I’m being testy. Gosh, Internet, I so frequently underestimate your inclusive wiles. Maybe I wasn’t clear. Let’s try again, shall we? What about “women in leadership?”

the google image search for women in leadership is filled with straight-haired women in power suits, the primary colors used are pink, and the text is all in script font

Yikes. That’s a lot of, um, straight hair and power suits.

Let me give you some context from a day I spent working from my home office earlier this week:

Me. Looking all messy while working from home.
Oh, dear.
  1. Not sure what my hair was doing
  2. Not sure what my face was doing
  3. That is my dressiest sweatshirt
  4. I have no idea how to use the sewing machine behind me for anything other than accidentally sewing things to my shirt.

I am a leader. Right? Right. So. Hello, world. Let’s figure this ish out.

In the coming weeks, I plan to explore these tensions. To be clear “explore” may mean any of the following things: question, vent, proselytize, weep, gnash, pine, whine, wonder, wander, and/or surrender. I will probably also interview people I admire. Because admiring people is neat.

Here we go.