UPDATED: Aug. 9, 2017, at 1:01 p.m.
When my friend first mentioned to me that her cousin works at Google, I asked how “he”—yes, I said “he”—likes it there. I have been coding since I was 13 years old. I currently study Computer Science. I interviewed with Google just a couple of months ago. I, more than most, understand that a woman can choose to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math and thrive while working for prestigious Silicon Valley tech companies. However, much to my own shame, I immediately assumed my friend’s cousin was male.
Ever since the fourth grade, when I heard Soulja Boy’s creatively-titled hit single, “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” I’ve been an avid rap fanatic. I was a lanky awkward white girl who’d blast Kanye West lyrics I was too young to understand on my bright pink iPod Nano. My high school senior yearbook quotation was Lil Wayne’s famous “I go so hard they call me go so hard,” and I even went so far as to write my college essay on how rap music changed my life. One short year later, however, in an atmosphere of perpetual political conversation and controversy, I find that rap has become more stunningly relevant than ever.
What initially fascinated me so strongly about rap music was its blunt, unapologetic tone. Often, its lyrics are provocative, risqué, and so explicit it’s shocking they ever see the light of public radio. Nevertheless, it is refreshing to witness people speaking free of restraint or boundary, and without fear of stepping over the line.
Recently, I finally finished reading a book I started last September. Entitled “Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal” and written by my brilliant seminar professor, Eugene Soltes, it explores everything from the law-evasions of Enron to the downfall of Bernie Madoff. However, the segment I found most interesting detailed the psychology behind big-money fraudsters, particularly their outdated intuition. Soltes explains that the modern business world presents complexities foreign to the environments in which our ancestors lived, highlighting a time gap between the current world and evolutionary behaviors. In short, the future is moving quickly, and human instinctive reactions are having a hard time keeping up.
What strikes me most about this phenomenon is how it is overlooked when discussing economic policy. In liberal economic theory specifically, there is a tendency to favor what is fair and equal over what is most efficient, with hopes to foster equality in an inherently unequal socio-economic class system. Here, the morals leading one to distinguish what is right from wrong plays a monumental role, dangerously imposing a binary. What is right might not be what is best, and what worked back then might not be what works now.
Last week, while scrolling through my monotonous Facebook feed filled with people complaining about Trump this and Trump that, I came across a post that stood out to me. Posted by my most liberal friend whom I love dearly (even though we rarely agree on anything), it focused on scientist Veronika Hubney being interrupted by a man when explaining her groundbreaking research. As a fellow woman with a passion for STEM—shoutout to the 20 hours a week I spent on CS50—I was outraged that her male panelist felt himself in a position to “mansplain” Hubney’s research to her. However, after finishing the minute-long clip, I found that incident was not the video’s most disturbing element.
Following Hillary’s loss in the 2016 presidential election, feminists have become stunningly more aware of the inequalities and hardships faced by women every day solely because of their gender. While I agree that it is of utmost importance to recognize where sexism is present and can hide in the world around us, there is an error in the way feminist media tells its stories that seems to hinder society from moving in a direction towards equality.