‘You Don’t Look Like You Go To MIT’ Is Never A Compliment

by Elizabeth Kiefer

Most women have experienced some shade of this situation: Someone (usually a person who isn’t particularly polite) feels the need to name the relationship between the way you look and what you’ve accomplished, manifesting in comments like, “You’re way too pretty to be a rocket scientist” or “You’re a lawyer?! Why do that when you could have been a model?” 

It never feels good to be valued primarily for skin deep things you can’t control when you’ve accomplished all sorts of amazing things through the powers of spirit, determination, and smarts—which is why we’re deeply enraged on behalf of this MIT engineering student whose educational street cred is constantly called into question simply because she’s conventionally good looking.

We’ll let you run down the whole list for yourself on Mic.com, but we pulled out a couple of the interactions we found most offensive in her list of lame exchanges:


At The Dentist:

“What are you studying? Where do you go to school?”

“I’m studying aerospace engineering and electrical engineering/computer science at MIT.”

“Oh that’s cute. After you complete your degree, are you going into modeling?”


In The Computer Lab

“Hey! You look good! What are you doing here?”

“Uhm, thanks. I’m headed to the library.”

“What!? But you’re wearing a dress!? Do you go to MIT?? How ‘bout I take you out?”

“Yeah, I go to MIT… and I’m going to the library…”


Studying At Starbucks

“What are you working on?”

“I’m writing an international relations paper on global politics.”

“Cool! Are you studying to be a lawyer? Where do you go to school?”

“No, actually I’m studying engineering at MIT.”

“Oh! So you’re like genius? But you seem so down to earth! Did you have some traumatizing childhood experience that brought you down to earth?”

“How is that relevant?”

“With the questions you ask, you should be a lawyer. Wanna go have some fun?”

“Excuse me? I need to finish my paper.”

Just. Ugh. There are no words, with the exception of a few four-lettered ones.


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