The primary goal of my AHS Capstone project was to identify how female engineers/tradespeople are represented in the media and how this reflects real life. I was particularly interested in understanding how systemic forces that discourage women from entering and remaining in engineering/trades were reflected in imaginary worlds, value systems, etc.
I found that the dichotomy between masculine/feminine and technical/social was strongly reflected in the media I analyzed. Despite characterizing women as capable of pursuing technical tasks, there was still an underlying assumption that those tasks were masculine.
In addition, I found that the systemic forces which discourage women from non-traditional careers were reinforced in discussions of workplace culture that equated freedom of speech with the freedom to tell inappropriate, dirty jokes and harass coworkers.
By developing a background in feminist philosophy prior to going down this path, I was well-versed in the implications of these dichotomies. Feminist philosophy has concerned itself with clarifying what it means to be feminine vs. masculine and uncovering unconscious bias in structures such as scientific discovery.
Canfield, Casey, "Feminist Philosophy" (2009). 2009 AHS Capstone Projects. 13.