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Why Is It So Hard for So Many Men to Believe This Former Victoria’s Secret Model Is Also a Professional Coder?

Oh, right. Because misogyny.

Lyndsey Scott, model, coder, programmer, misogyny, stem

Lyndsey Scott is an actress and a former Victoria’s Secret and Calvin Klein model, as well as a successful programmer. Over the weekend, the Instagram account Coding Engineer gave Scott a shoutout with the caption “Coding is for anyone!” The point was to highlight how there is still a false idea of what a coder looks like, and that image doesn’t usually include women–and definitely not glamorous or feminine women with interests in fields like fashion. The pervasiveness of these stereotypes and the damage they can cause to women or others that don’t fit the expected STEM mold was immediately apparent in the comments of the post itself.

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Many of the first comments to show up were misogynistic trolls making jokes about how she must only know how to program “Hello World,” a famously simple, ultra-beginner program. By now, the comments have been flooded with supportive and grateful messages, but it’s a reminder that misogyny in STEM is still very much a rampant, destructive force.

In that tweet from Scott, you can see her comment on the Instagram post, which, in addition to listing her accomplishments (which go far beyond Hello World, obviously), muses, “Looking at these comments I wonder why 41% of women in technical careers drop out because of a hostile work environment.”

The message in those original comments is that no matter how talented a woman is, how accomplished, many men will approach her with the assumption that she is neither. Even when proof is provided and accomplishments are listed, many will assume she’s exaggerating in some way. Men, in general, are not approached with this assumption.

Women who work in STEM and know the industry’s toxicity firsthand have been responding to Scott’s tweet.

The burden of ending misogyny in STEM shouldn’t be on women, it should be on the men undermining, patronizing, and harassing their colleagues or potential colleagues. But social media does allow women to create visibility that may be lacking in their individual offices or labs. When so many women join their voices together it’s hard to deny that coding is for anyone, and presuming otherwise only makes a person look like a sexist ass.

(H/T Pajiba, image: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images, Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for TheirWorld)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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