If I see another Jeff Bezos article, I’m going to freaking…
Women do cool stuff too. All you have to do is surf around the internet and you’ll find stories to inspire you. I’ve done it for you. Here are the best three.
The Toy Story Hero
As a kid, I wanted to be Woody in Toy Story.
I had all the toys and got the book of each movie. I can still smell the toxic fumes of the glossy images from the book to this day.
The making of a movie like Toy Story is an enormous task many of us will never comprehend. But imagine working on this project every day and then, having a random event delete the entire movie.
They found out later that someone had run a command on a system commonly used to delete unwanted files.
In a panic the team went to their “trusty” backups. They were dead too.
Something strange happened. When the team’s technical director, Galyn Susman, learned of the issue, she said “I have a copy.”
While away on maternity leave she’d been given a company laptop to work from home. She had a copy of the entire movie on it.
On a mission to her home, her and a colleague went over the bridge to get it. They gave the laptop the royal treatment, wrapping it in blankets as if it was the Queen of England who’d just got out of a frozen lake.
Galyn’s colleague hugged the laptop tightly and they carefully drove back to the office at a snail’s pace. The laptop was miraculously delivered.
The movie was saved so generations of kids could watch it.
What saved the laptop was the birth of a child and a smart woman who made a backup of her own in case anything happened.
The story has a tragic ending.
The finished Disney version of the Toy Story 2 movie ended up getting scrapped. Assertive a-holes at Pixar decided to make the whole movie again. That might explain why the second movie is so bad compared to the rest.
Still, if Galyn hadn’t saved the movie she and the entire team would likely have been fired. So there’s the silver lining.
Google Maps wouldn’t exist without her
All her family were farmers. She was destined to become one.
But she had no interest in wearing grubby overalls and sucking on a stick of straw to “fit in.” She did what no one thought normal at the time: became a mathematician. Badass. Math allowed her to escape the prison of a farm.
It felt like a good choice because men dominated it.
A job at a Virginia navy base got offered to her. They gave her a role working as a female programmer.
Day-to-day she felt inferior to all the men.
The feeling of inferiority didn’t ruin her, it made her. She used it to work harder than anybody else at the navy base. Her first success was an “award-winning study of the regularity of Pluto’s motion relative to Neptune.”
This led her to coordinate a project for a satellite used to monitor oceans for the first time. A model of Earth was needed to make it all work. She made it quietly without making too much fuss.
This tiny model would eventually morph into what we now call GPS, which powers Google Maps.
The achievement at the time went unnoticed. After retirement she sadly had a stroke. Things got better and she finished her PhD. Years later at a college event she had to send them a short bio.
Her fellow sorority sisters were speechless.
They were friends with a woman that’d done a huge service for humanity. At the time she had no idea, as military work often transcended into civilian projects without anyone at the navy base’s knowledge.
She later got recognized as one of the hidden figures who helped shape modern technology. Her name is Gladys West. Salute her.
A bad case of mansplaining
My wife says I once committed the act of mansplaining, punishable by death.
It’s when a man thinks they’re king d*ck and talks over a woman — often, to sound smarter than them.
One fire scientist copped a bad dose of the male disease. In 2011 she attended a NASA Earth meeting. In these events experts often discuss ideas.
The young woman started sharing a few ideas about a particular point on the cause of fires.
She’d made a groundbreaking discovery into why arctic fires are burning earlier and farther north. These landscapes were supposed to be fire-resistant. She changed a lot of minds with her research.
A white male post-doctorate stood up and rudely interrupted her, she says. Onlookers felt sick in the stomach, as no one likes a game of who’s the smartest scientist in the room.
“You don’t understand human drivers of fire, you definitely need to read McCarty et al.”
She looks him in his eyes with a fierce gaze, pulls her long black hair back to reveal her name badge and says, “I’m McCarty et al.”
The audience was in shock. The dude sat down and shut up after that.
After sharing this story on Twitter it created a viral trend of other women sharing their mansplaining stories.
Dr Nancy Langston recalls giving a similar presentation and being interrupted multiple times by some douchebag.
Her talk was on ponderosa pine fire history. The man spoke over her multiple times trying to tell her what “really” happened with the forests. To end the constant interruptions she said “where’d you get your information from?”
“It came from ‘Langston’s Forest Dreams’” — a paper she wrote!
Quiet geniuses are everywhere. No one deserves to be interrupted when presenting.
It blew my mind how common this story is after reading all the women’s tweets sharing their experiences.