Female Software Engineer ‘Too Pretty’? Isis Wenger Fights For Gender Equality

The OneLogin recruitment advertisements featuring a female engineer has some on social media expressing disbelief, calling the female software engineer “too pretty.” Isis Wenger is the actual software engineer used for this campaign ad, and she is fighting back against the perception that if a woman is “too pretty” that she cannot be a “real” engineer.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, UFC fighter Ronda Rousey recently weighed in on the gender pay gap and income inequality.

Isis Wenger says when she originally agreed to do the OneLogin ad, she felt fairly apathetic about the prospect.

“As a genuine introvert I have never cared much about gaining public attention and I really wasn’t prepared for how much everything blew up,” Wenger said. “Honestly when I see ads, I don’t think much of them and I certainly don’t try to read deeply into them. It was surprising to me to see that other people did.”

Calling a female software engineer too pretty essentially means that the stereotype of a nerdy-looking woman engineer is expected by many. But the OneLogin ad did not focus on sex appeal. In fact, the slogan next to the name of Isis Wenger specifically said, “My team is great. Everyone is smart, creative and hilarious.”

Regardless, some people felt it was impossible Wenger was a real female software engineer, and they assumed a model had been chosen to represent.

“This is some weird haphazard branding. I think they want to appeal to women, but are probably just appealing to dudes,” one comment said according to TechCrunch. “Perhaps that’s the intention all along. But I’m curious people with brains find this quote remotely plausible if women in particular buy this image of what a female software engineer looks like. Idk. Weird.”

In response to those calling the female software engineer too pretty, Isis Wenger started a Twitter trend by tweeting out #ILookLikeAnEngineer this past Monday. The #ILookLikeAnEngineer trend has since blown up on Twitter, with many attractive female engineers posting photos of themselves online.

I worked as an engineer at @Intel + @Twitter, now I build features for Windows at @Microsoft #ILookLikeAnEngineer pic.twitter.com/ttGUnHseYH

— dara (@daraoke) August 4, 2015

Wenger also wrote an article for Medium, where she described her experiences working as a female software engineer.

“I’m just a human and I prefer to keep my life simple/reserved, but it blows my mind that my fully-clothed smiling face with unbrushed hair and minimal makeup on a white wall is seemingly more controversial in some communities than this simply because of my gender.”

Having worked in the industry, Wenger is using the controversy generated by the photo to discuss gender equality in the workplace. She claims the “reality is that most people are well intentioned but genuinely blind to a lot of the crap that those who do not identify as male have to deal with.” For example, she highlights incidents where men threw dollar bills at her or asked to be “friend with benefits.”

“This illustrates one of the industry’s deep underlying issues. There is a significant lack of empathy and insight towards recognizing that their ‘playful/harmless’ behavior is responsible for making others inappropriately uncomfortable. This industry’s culture fosters an unconscious lack of sensitivity towards those who do not fit a certain mold,” she wrote. “I’m sure that every other women and non-male identifying person in this field has a long list of mild to extreme personal offenses that they’ve just had to tolerate. I’m not trying to get anyone in trouble, fired or ruin anyone’s life. I just want to make it clear that we are all humans, and there are certain patterns of behavior that no one should have to tolerate while in a professional environment.”

What do you think?

[Image via Isis Wenger/Twitter]