Rita J. King is an accomplished futurist (a type of scientist who "analyzes trends, probability, data from the past and present, and a multitude of other information to postulate potential futures — and what actions to take to obtain the best possible outcome") and is stylish to boot.
When King was asked to deliver a speech at a TedxYouth event for NASA in Langley, Virginia, she showed up in a beautiful, sparkly dress.
Because she wanted to show that scientists could be sparkly.
King recently tweeted about the experience:
Cleaning out my closet, I came across this gown and remembered the little girls who sent me a letter and asked me t… https://t.co/FQfKY7p2yp— Rita J. King (@Rita J. King) 1572659898.0
"A group of girls had written a letter requesting that I wear something sparkly for the event because they wanted to believe that scientists could be sparkly," King told Buzzfeed News.
"They wanted to see a 'sparkling geek.'"
And sparkle she did.
TEDxYouth@NASA - Rita King - The Future Needs Your Imaginationwww.youtube.com
The gesture goes toward breaking down stereotypes that somehow dressy, typically "feminine" clothing detracts from a person's level of seriousness about their career--something women have often experienced in male dominated spaces.
@RitaJKing I’m only crying a little bit— Grace Niewijk (@Grace Niewijk) 1572668546.0
@RitaJKing Who is cutting onions though— 💎 (@💎) 1572701187.0
@RitaJKing Twinkle twinkle Rita King Hope you notice what you bring To fill small girl's NASA dreams With your sparkling Twitter memes— Jack Gartre (@Jack Gartre) 1572741053.0
@RitaJKing @SaraJBenincasa You are amazing. Truly. And I love that dress so much.— Ali Trotta (@Ali Trotta) 1572704848.0
@RitaJKing My daughter is obsessed with all things sparkly, and she also likes to use tools and tinker. I love that… https://t.co/vPPmJDOxFq— Ashley Clark (@Ashley Clark) 1572693313.0
The talk took place eight years ago, but King came across the dress just this weekend and was flooded with memories.
"I couldn't believe this dress has been hanging here, and I thought about [that day] and how amazing it was [of the girls] to make the request," she said to Buzzfeed News.
"It seems like at this moment there's something boldly subversive about getting up there and boldly, unapologetically wearing sequins because girls asked you to...I hope what they're responding to is the idea that women have a very important role to play and we have a lot of responsibility on us. Wearing sparkles does not in any way diminish the seriousness of what we're doing."
@RitaJKing 90% sparkly and 180% awesome.— badsynthesis (@badsynthesis) 1572701226.0
@RitaJKing This is so important. The idea that masculine is serious and feminine is frivolous limits the options gi… https://t.co/wTcWiBgZs3— katie kawaii (@katie kawaii) 1572911250.0
@RitaJKing You legend!!— Keah Brown (@Keah Brown) 1572708969.0
@RitaJKing I love this so much!— Christine Nolan (@Christine Nolan) 1572660238.0
@RitaJKing I’m weeping now. Go you, go girls in science, go sparkles!— Donna Sink, Architect (@Donna Sink, Architect) 1572707854.0
It's powerful to be reminded of this gesture in an America that feels like it is fighting against expression and breaking molds, when in 2011 it felt celebrated.
@RitaJKing The universe is sparkly!— jasmine (@jasmine) 1572720060.0
@RitaJKing You're such a cool person. Really glad we have folks like you in the world to balance the less empathet… https://t.co/KS21YIt8Ro— Red Thomas (@Red Thomas) 1572694234.0
@RitaJKing That is absolutely cool. I try to get my 7 year old granddaughter into science. I've been trying to expl… https://t.co/eqSOxMTLkz— John Bolton's Avenging Moustache (@John Bolton's Avenging Moustache) 1572722477.0
@RitaJKing A fellow sparkly scientist: https://t.co/ommjLPnEE8— Apterous V (@Apterous V) 1572740743.0
@ChickenRN @RitaJKing Elise said, “Wow!” So I said, “You can still be sparkly when you’re an astronaut.” And she said, “YAY!!!”— I am Batmom ✌🏼🏳️🌈🦋 (@I am Batmom ✌🏼🏳️🌈🦋) 1572806987.0
Sparkle in every career path—whomever you are.