This is a bit of a response to the recent ad campaign going on Europe that’s set on trying to get more women into the science, math, and engineering fields. I think this is a wonderful idea! I remember growing up and some kind of bogus statistic saying girls were bad at math, which is why they don’t make good scientists and etc… all BS. Then again, that was when blood was still blue and electrons orbited the nuclei like little planets. Though I’d wager it was more of a skewed statistic coming from the “boys club” type mentality. Quite a shame too.
So now there’s an attempt to push the demographic of your egg headed super heroes to include the ladies! Great… but there’s a catch. See, the ad agency running these endeavors seemed to have employed some folks that were a few chromosomes short of vegetable and thought the proper target audience for these ads were girls aspiring to be Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. And that’s fine if you’re a girly girl type who also likes to split atoms on the side, but it is not a proper demographic to target. Basically, the problem is that paints an idealized (and stereotyped) hyper-sexulized version of women on one hand while trying to break another stereotype with the other. “Come be a scientist! There’s like, pink unicorns and lipstick, and stickers, and stuff”… Really folks? Really? It’s kind of belittling if you ask me. It’s like trying to use the Benny Benassi video, Satisfaction, to get more women into construction work. Not saying there’s anything wrong with doing some pinup (over idealized) arts, but let’s not pretend it’s an acceptable genre for use in women’s rights. Similarly, it’s like using Gil Elvgren painting to get girls into library science.
Again, it’s fine if you’re the type of lady that likes to wear cherry red lipstick and high heels in the lab, but this isn’t the right way to portray women in science nor is it the right way of inviting the younger generation to join up. A real good way is to push science itself! Science is crazy interesting and loads of fun! It’s a lot of math and hard research, but if you want people to start joining in, then you need to show how diverse and wonderful the field is, not using stereotypes to lure young minds.
I think the greater issue starts from the very beginning of the chain. You can try to pass off some sort of invitation now to get more women interested, but you are also fighting a whole history of misogynistic marketing that has told them different. A very clear message gets sent out when on tv, little Billy is playing with his chemistry set and football while Sally plays with dolls. The initiative needs to start on this very basic level! Counter marketing needs to be in place (like Truth ads next to a cigarette one) that shows women in positions of higher learning, who split atoms and rearrange genes, who are not any weaker or stronger than their male counterparts, rather are peers. No more no less. If the goal is to have more diversity in the sciences, then we need to level the playing field at an early age.
It’s all pretty sad that we have to undo centuries of bad press, but at the same time, at least a basic level of tact needs to be applied. I’m not a fan of this ad campaign the EU tried to pass off, but I’m a fan of what they are trying to accomplish. The best solution would be for them to just fire their marketing staff and hire me! Buuuuut a more realistic approach would be to just be respectful and not use bad advertising techniques to draw in an audience. Hell, for all I know maybe this was all a ploy to piss off everybody with offensive ads to get people talking about it. In that case, good troll my good sirs… but that’s probably being a bit overly optimistic about it.
Anyways, I think my ad is much better! Shows a lady in science, not sexualized or stereotyped (except for glasses… but all us geeky peeps are a bit blind… I blame computers), nor in a position of helplessness, vulnerability, or survivor of assault (which seems to be a nice new trope they like to use now), rather an inventor and person in power. So there you go! Fixed! Share this with all the girls you know and remind them they can rule the world with their brain… and a labcoat.
Yup, so there you have it. Gals with goggles! Need more of em! So get to it! (And heck, I think everyone should get into science and math, no matter what you do! It’s good for the soul!)
Source: It’s A Girl Thing
ALSO! This nice lady, aka Dr. Meghan Grey, Astronomy, has a great rebuttal in THIS INTERVIEW! I suggest you watch it!