It Was Never A Dress. / by Tania Katan

So, as you know, I’m an artist, writer, performer that works for a software company in Arizona, Axosoft. This, in itself should be a radical notion, right? I mean, it’s kind of the ultimate intervention or disruption to hire someone who doesn’t belong and then offer her/him the support, collaborative team, and time to explore and develop ideas. And, well…I came up with an idea. And, with an amazingly collaborative and smart team, we were able to launch it to an unbelievable response!

We launched #ItWasNeverADress at the Girls in Tech Conference in Arizona 4 days ago. As of right now, the hashtag “itwasneveradress” is reaching over 3 million people on Twitter and Instagram has over 2,000 posts referencing the campaign.

This idea came out of belonging. Out of women who belong in technology—and every other space—but are often overlooked, uninvited, or just plain dismissed. Not cool! I started thinking about symbols that represent women, and that are easily identifiable for mass culture. I thought of the bathroom lady. We’ve all seen her. She’s been in that stiff, triangle dress, looking uncomfortable for a long time. And if she’s a symbol that represents women, then no wonder we’re feeling trapped, rigid and uncomfortable!

So, I set out to see that symbol differently. What if we were just seeing her from the wrong side? Are we staring at her back? What if it was never a dress, but really a cape? What is she is a superhero?!

I made a photocopy of the vector, took out a pen and, in literally four lines, there was a super woman revealed right there. She was there this whole time. It was a profound perception shift. 

What a privilege to be a part of a much larger conversation. Right now, people are challenging notions of gender, of strength, of self-worth, of equality. The conversations are joyous, heated, necessary and unfolding. Looking forward to hearing from you!