Girl geeks and stereotypes about technology In today’s HuffPost Technology, Bianca Bosker writes about Marissa Mayer, a senior executive at Google. Bosker uses Mayer’s example as a case that defies stereotypes about women working in the technology sector. Her relatively late exposure to computing is something of note: Mayer, who calls herself a “proud geek,” did not grow up obsessed with computers — she bought her first one in college — or with dreams of becoming the next Bill Gates. She wanted to be a pediatric neurosurgeon. The article is an interplay between Mayer’s emotional and analytical outlook when offered several jobs, at Google and other companies, after graduating from Stanford. While she “created a matrix ranking how each position compared across a slew of characteristics,” she also “collapsed in tears” in frustration at the difficulty of the decision. Toward the end of the piece, Mayer’s perspective on women in technology is tied together with Bosker’s example of how the woman tech executive is not a typical “geek”: Mayer blames the dearth of female programmers and Internet entrepreneurs in part on tech’s image problem. She argues that growing up, girls are offered a narrow stereotype of what it means to be a “geek” — something akin to the bespectacled loner who spends hours typing away at a screen. Attracting more women to the Silicon Valleys, Alleys and Roundabouts of the world requires doing away with those stereotypes and showing young women that techies don’t have to love video games. Mayer herself is no ordinary geek: she’s a former ballet dancer with a penchant for cupcakes and the fashion designer Oscar de la Renta. Mayer’s focus on loosening rigid stereotypes of women in technology is laudable. I wonder: where might men in the technology space assist in this process?