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Computer Programmer By Day, Pin-up By Night: Penny Heartbleed Talks About Her Experiences As A Pin-up In Tech

According to a 2013 study from The National Academy Of Sciences, men are two times as likely to be hired in a field that involves mathematics than women. When the only difference between the two applications is the gender.

Nearly forty percent of women with engineering degrees don’t even enter the field. If they do, they usually quite soon after. Women in tech who majored in business also tend to quit soon after.

But why? Well, if you’re a woman who likes to express her femininity in any way: you’re seen as a joke. A distraction. Someone who doesn’t belong in a setting that involves using your brain. Because you couldn’t possibly know about anything besides makeup and the latest celebrity gossip.

But don't just take it from me (a tech student) take it from Penny Heartbleed; a pin-up girl and computer programmer from Norway. I spoke to her to see what she thought about this issue, and what advice she had for young women who'd like to to work in tech.


According to a 2013 study From The National Academy Of Sciences, men are two times as likely to be hired in a field that involves mathematics than women. When the only difference between the two applications is the gender.  Nearly forty percent of women with engineering degrees don’t even enter the field. If they do, they usually quite soon after. Women in tech who major in business also tend to quit soon after.  But why? Well, if you’re a woman who likes to express her femininity in anyway: you’re seen as a joke. A distraction. Someone who doesn’t belong in a setting that involves using your brain. Because you couldn’t possibly know about anything besides makeup and the latest celebrity gossip.  It’s very hard to be taken seriously. But don’t take it from me (a tech student) take from Penny Heartbleed; a pin-up girl and computer programmer and pin-up from Norway. I spoke to her and asked her about her experiences a pin-up in the tech industry.    Q: How did you start dressing in vintage fashion?  A:”It was a gradual process. I've always been drawn to a very classic and feminine style in hair a

Q: How did you start dressing in vintage fashion?

A: ”It was a gradual process. I've always been drawn to a very classic and feminine style in hair and makeup: loose big waves, black liner, and red lips. Because I am petite, I've always struggled to find clothes and in particular dresses that fit how I want them to. I wanted clothes that were small in the waist, but roomier in the hips and that didn't have a very long torso. 

When I was looking for clothes that fit how I wanted them to, I naturally fell into vintage style fashion. Particularly late ‘40s - ‘50s style clothes. And I loved it!”

Q: How long have you been dressing vintage fashion? and what has been your experience with it so far?

A: “I first started to dabble in vintage fashion for parties and such around five years ago, because I simply didn't know anyone made every-day vintage inspired clothes! Then, I discovered Emmy Design Sweden - who had trousers and wool cardigans, and I was hooked! No more uncomfortable jeans for me!”

Q: How did you first start getting into computer programming? And how did you know it was something you wanted to do for a career?

A: “ I’ve always loved technology, and computers became a big part of my life very early on. I loved building them, playing on them, and figuring out how they worked. When I looked towards university, I knew I wanted something to do with technology and computers. Everything else just fell naturally into place from there.”

According to a 2013 study From The National Academy Of Sciences, men are two times as likely to be hired in a field that involves mathematics than women. When the only difference between the two applications is the gender.  Nearly forty percent of women with engineering degrees don’t even enter the field. If they do, they usually quite soon after. Women in tech who major in business also tend to quit soon after.  But why? Well, if you’re a woman who likes to express her femininity in anyway: you’re seen as a joke. A distraction. Someone who doesn’t belong in a setting that involves using your brain. Because you couldn’t possibly know about anything besides makeup and the latest celebrity gossip.  It’s very hard to be taken seriously. But don’t take it from me (a tech student) take from Penny Heartbleed; a pin-up girl and computer programmer and pin-up from Norway. I spoke to her and asked her about her experiences a pin-up in the tech industry.    Q: How did you start dressing in vintage fashion?  A:”It was a gradual process. I've always been drawn to a very classic and feminine style in hair a

Q: Do you add a touch of your personal style in the workplace?

A: “Most of the outfits you will see me in is in a work setting. Simply because if I am dressed and not at a party, I am likely at work, on my way to work, or on my way home from work. I started my instagram as a way to document what I was wearing every day at work, and to show that there was a way to wear this day to day! 

A lot of the vintage inspired looks I was seeing were, while beautiful, not attainable for me. So I focus on simple hair and makeup that takes a minimal amount of time in the morning, and vintage silhouettes but with minimal accessories, and block colors or very simple patterns. I try to "blend in" in terms of colors and patterns, but work with vintage shapes.”

Q: If so, what has been your experience? and do you have any tips?

A: “I've had nothing but good experiences with it so far! In general, Norway is very relaxed when it comes to dress codes, and I've never had to adhere to one except for "common sense." I also work in a place that appreciates individuality, and they just expect me to dress like this. I got more confused looks the one day I showed up in jeans! I even got to go with my work to Paris Fashion Week this year, which was a blast. Not what you expect from a programming job. 

If I had any tips, it would be to go easy on the accessories and colors and to also focus on the shapes. Don't wear anything that makes a lot of noise, or that is a big distraction in an office space. A lot of our work is sitting at a desk with a headset typing away at a keyboard, you don't want your hair or accessories in the way. And be comfortable! If you're unsure how people will feel, ease into it and see what happens.”

According to a 2013 study From The National Academy Of Sciences, men are two times as likely to be hired in a field that involves mathematics than women. When the only difference between the two applications is the gender.  Nearly forty percent of women with engineering degrees don’t even enter the field. If they do, they usually quite soon after. Women in tech who major in business also tend to quit soon after.  But why? Well, if you’re a woman who likes to express her femininity in anyway: you’re seen as a joke. A distraction. Someone who doesn’t belong in a setting that involves using your brain. Because you couldn’t possibly know about anything besides makeup and the latest celebrity gossip.  It’s very hard to be taken seriously. But don’t take it from me (a tech student) take from Penny Heartbleed; a pin-up girl and computer programmer and pin-up from Norway. I spoke to her and asked her about her experiences a pin-up in the tech industry.    Q: How did you start dressing in vintage fashion?  A:”It was a gradual process. I've always been drawn to a very classic and feminine style in hair a

Q: How do you feel knowing that most girls in high-school are interested in math or science related fields, but don’t go into them as a career due to them being mostly male-dominated fields?

A: “I am sad, but not surprised. It's a big issue in computing. Which is even worse when you know that the first programmers were women. But yet again, we are pushed out of something because someone decided it wasn't for us. I have always had interests that were both traditionally viewed as feminine and masculine. I'm very used to people not understanding it, telling me to be different, telling me that I shouldn't like what I like, and that I probably won't be good at it. 

I've been excluded from gaming groups. I've been made fun of and looked down on in computer classes because I obviously don't know what I'm talking about. And I suspect that's the case for most of us. I’m quite lucky because here in Norway, for the most part, everyone is treated equally. But there are huge differences in the computing field. 

There are very very few women, and almost no people of colour. When the only people you ever see from your field are the same group of white men, that is what you come to expect and what everyone sees as the ideal programmer. I've actually done a whole talk about unconscious bias in computer programming so I could go on about this forever, but my main point is:

I am not in the least bit surprised that girls drop off and dont go into this field. They don't want to go into a field where they will be treated as less then. And while that certainly is the case in many places, it won't change unless we change it. No-one is going to come in here and make this place more accepting for us, it won't change until there are enough of us here where they are forced to act up. Computing literally involves creating the future, and we have to be a part of it.”


According to a 2013 study From The National Academy Of Sciences, men are two times as likely to be hired in a field that involves mathematics than women. When the only difference between the two applications is the gender.  Nearly forty percent of women with engineering degrees don’t even enter the field. If they do, they usually quite soon after. Women in tech who major in business also tend to quit soon after.  But why? Well, if you’re a woman who likes to express her femininity in anyway: you’re seen as a joke. A distraction. Someone who doesn’t belong in a setting that involves using your brain. Because you couldn’t possibly know about anything besides makeup and the latest celebrity gossip.  It’s very hard to be taken seriously. But don’t take it from me (a tech student) take from Penny Heartbleed; a pin-up girl and computer programmer and pin-up from Norway. I spoke to her and asked her about her experiences a pin-up in the tech industry.    Q: How did you start dressing in vintage fashion?  A:”It was a gradual process. I've always been drawn to a very classic and feminine style in hair a


Q: How do people in general react to your style?


A: “Most people I talk to really like it! Where I'm from, small talk and talking to people you don't know isn't a thing, so I can't say I hear what strangers feel about it a lot. But the little I do hear is positive! I often get asked where my clothes are from, and if I get my clothes tailored. Which I assume to mean people think they fit well!”




A: “Dress the way you want to. Don’t try too hard to adhere to any specific decade or what people expect. Don't think you have to go full on everything in order to do it "properly,” there is no proper way. For me, vintage fashion goes more on shape, and pinup is the more dressy version of ‘40/‘50s style. Don't compare yourself to other people, and dress in the way you like!”

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