On Broadway, Princesses, Stereotypes, and Multidimensionality

Two summers ago, right before I started my first internship in a male-dominated field, my mom told me not to wear pink, not to laugh, and to just try to fit in. It took time for me to feel comfortable acting a certain way, and I even acknowledged my love of Disney and Broadway this past summer in a company blog post. Though it’s 2018, many still don’t take women seriously because of how they act or dress, like what happened to Jess in the TV show New Girl, below.

My name is Lizzie, I quote Disney almost every day, I wear pink, and I also read a lot of baseball and basketball (fiction and nonfiction) books.

A little over a year ago, I was listening to my usual mix of Broadway and Disney tunes when the YouTube recommendation algorithm suggested I watch a series of videos called the Broadway Princess Party. I didn’t really understand what that was, and only recognized a few of the singers (but all of the songs)…and I was hooked. Every actress in the Broadway Princess Party was assigned a princess (the term is loose, some were not royal but just main female characters.) Where else could someone watch the actress who played Jasmine on Broadway in Aladdin sing songs from Pocahontas? Or Moana? The sky was the limit!

This past Sunday, I made the 1.5 hour trek to New York City to see the Broadway Princess Party in-person with a friend I met in NYC this past summer. Gwen is a well-known iOS engineer and conference speaker who (like me) also happens to love Broadway, Disney, poetry, yoga, art, and the color purple. When the Broadway star singing Snow White updated the lyrics to make them more modern, “woke”, and feminist, I scanned the room and noted the diversity of audience members in attendance. I thought it was so cool to see people of all genders, backgrounds, and ages who were interested in a show called the Broadway Princess Party. (If you’re wondering, it exceeded my already-high expectations.)

A few summers ago, the #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign took off because people didn’t believe a woman in an advertisement was an engineer, showing that even in the 21st century, people still have preconceived notions of what someone who does a certain job looks like.

I’m fortunate that I’ve never felt that I had to change myself to be taken seriously while at Bryn Mawr. Here, I’ve found friends, classmates, professors, and staff who are multi-dimensional. When I think of a computer scientist, a biochemist, or a philosopher, I think of a woman because they’re the ones I’ve been surrounded by these past four years. They all challenge stereotypes of typically-male-dominated fields.

I hope to do the same, and I’ll do it while wearing my Pride and Prejudice earrings, Mulan shirt, and panda earmuffs.

Has anyone ever misjudged you before because of preconceived stereotypes?


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