It's been quite a week in technology for the socially conscious. First the unveiling of an in Japan meant to keep people from turning up the thermostat in the winter. And now, a calendar of pinup girl geeks meant to dissolve stereotypes and raise scholarship money for young women pursuing careers in computer science.
Denver resident Lilac Mohr, 26, who both produced and modeled for the just-released Geek Gorgeous 2006 calendar, said it was an idea fueled by a decade in the male-dominated field of computer programming. She started working as a programmer at age 16, she said.
"I found it a little discouraging" being the only woman at work or in computer science classes during college, she said. The calendar sets "out to show the world that there are plenty of beautiful, intelligent and interesting women in the fields of computers and engineering."
Mohr, the June model, was further fueled by male co-workers who told her she wouldn't be able to find "12 attractive women working in computers."
So she put an ad in a local paper and on Craigslist for models who work in the computer industry and was "amazed" by both the quantity and the quality of respondents, mostly from Colorado. Mohr, who owns a software consulting firm and co-owns three franchise video games stores (with her husband), had to turn away a dozen or so aspiring models, she said.
The poster-size calendar features scantily clad babes in technology-related scenes: March is serving up a platter of iPods at a fast-food restaurant while October is wearing a halter-top made of computer cables.
The women also reveal precious details about their inner nerdiness. For example, Mohr is a Trekkie whose "latest obsession is data mining and statistical analysis of econometric data for an upcoming real estate investment application." Tracy, Miss March, attends "Sci-Fi conventions, although she's never attended one in costume." And Barbara, Miss August, said her "friends give her a hard time because she'd rather stay home and play computer games than go out to the movies."
Mohr said she knows some people will see the calendar as objectifying women. But she argues that teenagers these days look up to celebrities who flaunt their beauty and sexiness. The calendar, she said, shows them that you can be all that, and intelligent and tech savvy, too.
The calendar, for sale at the Geek Gorgeous site, costs $19.99 plus $4 for shipping. All proceeds will go to a college scholarship fund Mohr is starting, she said.