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Science: It’s a Girl Thing!

The European Commission is trying to get more women involved in science, which is good, except…look at their Science: It’s a Girl Thing campaign. Jesus wept.

Serious man sits at microscope. Fashionable, slender girls slink in on ridiculous high heels and vogue to shots of bubbling flasks, splashes of makeup, twirling skirts, and giggling hot chicks. Seriously, this is not how you get women excited about science, by masquerading it as an exercise shallow catwalking. This is a campaign that perpetuates myths about women’s preferences. The lab is not a place where you strut in 3″ heels.

How do you get people excited about science and science careers? By talking about science. Ben Goldacre made some excellent comments on twitter about this.

The EU have funded a campaign to make women in science wear shorter skirts. http://bit.ly/KYRkBk #sciencegirlthing

Time and again with these high budget state funded science communication activities, they dumb down, shoot for the mainstream, and miss.

Meanwhile I can’t help noticing that the really nerdy stuff done by ppl like me and @robinince is commercially successful in the marketplace

I realise that sounds cocklike, but it’s true. Dumbed down state funded sci comms is patronising and fails to meet its stated objectives.

People – not just nerds – like nerd stuff. They like the details. They’re not thick.

@flypie @robinince we fill out rock venues, my book sold 400,000 copies, i dont know what more metrics you want. Nerd detail sells.

@edyong209 @robinince we make, a fucking, profit. we sell nerd details, and people buy it, while state £ sci comms patronises tiny audiences

The real tragedy is that somewhere, a marketing cock is celebrating that their “controversial” campaign is being discussed #sciencegirlthing

Also, to my vast surprise, for once the youtube comments are actually intelligent.

Oh wow, I can’t remember when I last felt this patronised. I’m pretty sure the message “scientists think that women are giggly, superficial and obsessed with fashion” isn’t going to get more of us doing science. Just eww. I have a physics degree. I managed to get it without strutting around a lab in a minidress and stupid shoes and doing ‘sexy’ pouts.

Rachael Borek

Please tell me that this is a sad joke. Being female and working in a laboratory I find it patronising in the extreme. I can’t believe that any intelligent woman watching this would not want to punch the advert-makers in the face. Is this REALLY what you think women interested in science want?? Go look at clips of Kari Byron hosting Mythbusters and then come back and apologise to everyone.

Catherine Du-Rose

Oh my god. I haven’t been this revolted by something since I heard about the human caterpillar. This is so insulting! I can’t find the words to properly articulate how irritated I am by this. Please tell me this isn’t a trailer – I mean, there’s not going to be more like this? I cannot imagine anything that would turn an intelligent girl off a subject faster than being patronised.

littlelixie

I’m a girl and I’m a scientist. I definitely do not go prancing around making make up. I work on a computer and do processing. Science is not a girl thing, it’s an everyone thing, everyone who is passionate enough about doing what they love. This is a terrible, terrible video, and I feel very offended, and I know my male colleagues do not see me like this. I feel rather disgusted.

chandratap

Hey, next time an organization tries to do the right thing and encourage more diverse people to participate in science, how about if you actually talk to scientists and try to understand what motivates them, rather than dragging some refugee from the fashion and music video world to tell women how to be scientists?

Comments

  1. CT says

    bullshit like this is why I have to wear heels and dress clothes every fucking day while my erstwhile male colleagues get to wear tennis shoes and golf shirts. Yeah, I tried that and was told it’s not appropriate for women to wear “in the workplace”.

    translation: “it’s okay for women to be here but only if they are easy on the eyes and if they aren’t they damn well better dress like they want to be”

  2. says

    “Oh my god. I haven’t been this revolted by something since I heard about the human caterpillar. ”
    Is that the Asylum version of Human Centipede?

  3. says

    It reminds me of the “You’ve got your own cigarette, girl!” adverts for Virginia Slims, in it’s failed attempt to be empowering.

  4. says

    I respectfully suggest that you’ve got it all wrong.
    This isn’t a campaign to get women interested in science.
    Naaaaw! It’s obviously intended to get a certain sort of guy interested.
    Dunnow if it works for that either.
    Stupid either way.

  5. hypatiasdaughter says

    But I think sexy & shallow could work as a marketing campaign. It’s just that they forgot (per usual) that their target market is women, not men.
    If they had only shown shirtless sexy young male scientists strutting around a lab – well, now, that might draw the ladies in, doncha think?
    But then, it might cheapen and insult the men in science by making them look like bimbos. And what marketing company would be so stupid as to insult half the human race by deliberately doing that?

  6. says

    All right, you’ve talked me into it. I’ll let a film crew into my lab, and let them record me chopping up embryos in a speedo. No, not the embryos in a speedo, me.

    I’m sure that will get the women flocking to careers in, oh, just about anything other than science.

  7. says

    @brynnobrien started Twitter campaign #WomenScientists in response to #sciencegirlthing My picks as top historical and contemporary #WomeScientists are – Barbara McClintock, Rosalind Franklin, Marrie Currie. Contemporaries – Bonnie Bassler, Karolin Luger, Elizabeth Blackburn

  8. anna says

    I think perhaps the best way to encourage women in the sciences would be to take the money from producing this video and give it to scholarships for woman entering the sciences at university.

    5 of the 6 science teachers at my school are woman. This is making woman at my school feel very comfortable in science. Getting more woman in the field will help more than anything. It shows we belong there.

  9. says

    Why is ‘pretty’ a necessary thing for science jobs, honestly?

    I was reading the Express last week. It’s a free paper by the Washington Post that they hand out to commuters. In it, they have this “Shoe Advice Column” where people ask questions about what kinds of shoes they should buy for certain situations. Usually it’s pretty good (“I need a cheap, but pretty shoe for a wedding.” “Here’s a $45 strappy sandal with a low heel that should look nice and won’t hurt you as you stand around taking pictures!”) but last weeks was ridiculous.

    The woman writing in was getting a job in a hospital – not sure what the job was, but that doesn’t matter too much – and she wanted a sensible, pretty shoe to wear on the job that would look good under her scrubs.

    The response: Here’s a $150, 4-inch heeled suede shoe to make you look your best while you make your rounds.

    Seriously? A high-heeled, suede, $150 shoe? In a hospital? Where you’ve sometimes gotta run really fast, and there’s blood and bodily fluids?

  10. Kazim says

    Looks like only pink science is a girl thing. All other colors are for men, obviously.

  11. John Kruger says

    Great, assume you know what women want and run an ad campaign around your stereo-types. “Hey girls! Come and be part of our organization that considers you a primarily as a sex object!” Don’t bother asking other women in science what might help, just run with your narrow worldview.

    How many scholarships for women might have been funded from the money put towards making this trash?

  12. Heliantus says

    Oooh, it’s pink.

    No, seriously, WTF?

    And I don’t want to sound mean, but the women I met in the labs I worked for were way more sexy than these 3 bimbos.
    Even the ones not wearing high heels or designer outfits.

    Maybe because they were real persons and not sex dolls strutting in front of a camera.
    Those fake, I want to run away from. And I suspect brainy women will fell the same. Epic fail, EU.

    No, seriously, this is that EU bureaucrats are thinking of what women and scientists look like? I dunno by which I should be more offended.

    Reminds me of old ads for nurse recruitment from the 50s I have seen on the Polite Dissent website. Be a nurse! Panel 3: you will have access to plenty of young, handsome MDs to flirt with.

  13. richarddawkins says

    The following story is completely and utterly true. I was at a conference discussing Public Understanding of Science (probably the British Association for the Advancement of Science) and I did my usual harangue against dumbing down. In the Q & A, a man, no doubt filled with a self-righteous glow of right-on new-mannishness, stood up and suggested that “perhaps dumbing down is necessary in order to attract women and minorities into science”.

  14. Musical Atheist says

    That kind of performance wouldn’t have motivated me to go into the performing arts, and I’m in the performing arts. I sometimes wonder if the pr and production people who put this kind of thing together ever interact with other human beings at all. They live in a strange parallel universe where ‘girls’ are actually a single esoteric hive mind creature that has to be appeased through the ritual use of the sacred colour pink.

  15. CT says

    In the Q & A, a man, no doubt filled with a self-righteous glow of right-on new-mannishness, stood up and suggested that “perhaps dumbing down is necessary in order to attract women and minorities into science”.

    well, I guess it’s good to know that my fellow NCians get out of the house occasionally.

  16. Musical Atheist says

    Is that an ironic use of the male gaze or do they just have no real awareness whatsofuckingever?

  17. left0ver1under says

    When I click on an embedded video, the first thing I do is hit pause to let the it load. Most times, about a second will play before it responds.

    I only saw the first second, and the video already lived down to all the negative comments. Watching the rest was agony.

    An episode of “CSI” is a thousand times better than that ad for getting women into science. The female characters wear jeans or slacks and walking shoes, they don’t primp or strut, and they don’t put up with guff from anyone. And that’s not to suggest that the show is the ideal or that it is in any way realistic.

  18. ChasCPeterson says

    I too found this disturbing from the perspective of a science-educator and father.

    But it isn’t aimed a science-educators or fathers or Pharyngula readers. Surely there were professional advertising/PR people involved with this campaign, and it would surprise me to learn that they put it out there without any market researchy focus-group type stuff with members of the target demographic (which I guess to be ‘tweens’ around 12-14 yo). Perhaps they were specifically targeting girls who were already developing negative impressions of science as being for nerds and/or boys and were already in the process of identifying with the superficial sexy look featured in the magazines. Maybe it’s effective at reaching the specific people they’re trying to reach. I don’t know.

    However, Kylie Sturgess links to this study and this summary of it, the results of which suggest that it might be counterproductive.

  19. jamessweet says

    The littlelixie comment contains a grievous error.. It was Human Centipede, not caterpillar. Get your revolting C-movie sci-fi straight! :p

  20. left0ver1under says

    That should read:

    “hit pause to let it load…”

    OR

    “hit pause to let the video load…”

    I can understand why there’s no edit button (to prevent idiots from making obscene statements and then deleting them), but there sure are times when it would be nice to fix one’s own typos.

  21. ChasCPeterson says

    way more sexy than these 3 bimbos.

    ffs, they’re like 16 years old. The point is not the male gaze or even being sexy. It’s supposed to be looking hip and feminine in the eyes of younger girls. Again, like in the magazines.

  22. turtle says

    Unbelievably offensive and patronising. Not to mention breaking countless lab safety rules with those open-toe shoes and bare legs! (ok, that’s just me being snarky…)

    Beautiful timing from EC too, following just a few months after the publication of a study suggesting overly feminine STEM role models can actually decrease interest for adolescent girls: http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/03/27/1948550612440735

  23. ChasCPeterson says

    and yes I understand that the ads in the magazines are themselves in some sense ‘about the male gaze’, but I’m still trying to figure out the (yes, non-magical) intention of this particuar vid.

  24. turtle says

    Oops… sorry for the repeat of the link ChasCPeterson posted. Msut have come up while I typing mine! (I’m new here and a bit slow…)

  25. interrobang says

    So they’re trying to promote a discipline that’s all about thinking and intellectual rigour, and they do it without thinking or being intellectually rigorous at all. *slow clap*

    I guess I won’t have to take my ferrous gluconate pill tonight after all.

  26. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    More than encouraging girls to be interested in science, we have to stop discouraging them.

    OK. Maybe both. But there is a message that women receive along every step of the way, and the message is multifarious and ingrained. Those who want to perpetrate it must be corrected in no uncertain terms, and those who are its intended targets must be empowered to call bullshit whenever they hear it.

    [How's that for obvious and vague?]

  27. otranreg says

    So, this is where my taxes go?

    But, in all fairness, I quite like the ‘Profiles of women in science’ section. It shows that there are real women doing science, who are successful both in their careers and outside of them.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the whole point here should be not to try to attract women who’d happily swallow up the glam, but women who are interested in science, but are reluctant to choose this carrer, because they think they will be unwelcome, or will become social outcasts because of it. Seeing real examples in these videos is a step in the right direction, I think.

  28. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    And I don’t want to sound mean, but the women I met in the labs I worked for were way more sexy than these 3 bimbos.

    I could be wrong but this appears to be missing the point by a mere galaxy or so.

  29. Beatrice says

    And I don’t want to sound mean, but the women I met in the labs I worked for were way more sexy than these 3 bimbos.

    You could try it without shaming women. I know that it can be difficult to balance opposition to stereotyping women and not mocking women who in some parts resemble the stereotype, but really, try it.

    Also, read this:

    We’re given insight into the male gaze by random men hooting at us on the sidewalk. “Don’t worry, insecure girl, there are people out there who think you’re hot” isn’t a revolutionary perspective, and thinking it’s a necessary contribution to a thread about female objectification and body image demonstrates a lack of understanding of the subject.

    (source)

    This may not be a thread about female objectification, but the principle applies.

  30. Kevin Anthoney says

    The lab is not a place where you strut in 3″ heels.

    Speak for yourself.

    By the way, your profile pic and the pharyngula stage embryo appear to have gone missing, possibly because they’re still hosted on ScienceBlogs instead of here.

  31. Beatrice says

    I was always a bit weird, but I doubt this kind of advert would have appealed to me when I was in the targeted age group.

  32. says

    I do some STEM outreach, normally doing optics or engineering demos. I always figure that the most important thing the kids, especially the girls, take away from my presentations is seeing me, a woman, identify as an electrical engineer.

    I think the best approach is simply to show examples of female scientists and engineers, as well as to show how cool the science itself is, which they do a little bit of on the website, but not enough.

    I can appreciate that there are some girls who are concerned that STEM fields are unfeminine, that boys won’t like them if they’re good at math and science, and so forth. But I still don’t think this is the right approach to dealing with that. Show the actual scientists, and then have them answers questions about these problems as side issues. Don’t make “Science; it’s girly!” the focus of your campaign.

    I should also add that I think it’s important for boys to see examples of women working in STEM as well. If they’re not seeing these messages, they’ll grow up still thinking that women can’t do science.

  33. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    They’ve shot themselves in the foot so accurately that I’m left to wonder if it wasn’t deliberate. Could it be that some kind of sexist old guard who cooked this up to actually keep women away from the sciences?

  34. Emilie says

    Graaaagh. Watching this was like gagging through a shoverful of glittery unicorn shit.

    So, if I understand correctly…the way to encourage women to pursue a career in science is by telling them that it’s all about the opportunity to wear stilettos that totally match your lab goggles?

  35. Emrysmyrddin says

    This would have actively disgusted me at 11, let alone 17. I would not have responded to six-inch heels, nail varnish and lippy. What I would have responded to is videos of women already in the field talking about the impacts their work was having, how their choice to go into the sciences was helping to change the world for the better, whether it be bridge-building, cancer-curing or plotting the Universe. This particular video seems to assume that girls will not respond to anything that’s not drenched in cosmetics and pink and sexiness.
    I wanted to be a microbiologist when I was a girl because I saw Dana Scully constantly peering into a microscope or analysing X-rays, running down ‘bad guys’ in her pantsuit, using her brain and not her face… point missed, video-makers, point missed.

  36. Beatrice says

    So, I’ve watched the other videos that Kylie posted about (link).

    They are better, but it’s still a shame that what I’m assuming was the introductory video is so bad. And even the others… Why did the Italian scientist have to go shopping? Yeah, it shows that scientists have life outside of work, but they really could have chosen something a bit less stereotypical than shopping and trying out clothes.

  37. says

    I can hardly wait for the campaign to get street walkers or porn stars into science! ;-)

    Why yes, that would be a great campaign. Sex workers who want to find new careers being specifically targeted for higher education and empowered and encouraged and welcomed into careers in science? That would be fantastic!

    …oooh wait, was your comment sarcastic?

  38. Brownian says

    Surely there were professional advertising/PR people involved with this campaign, and it would surprise me to learn that they put it out there without any market researchy focus-group type stuff with members of the target demographic (which I guess to be ‘tweens’ around 12-14 yo)

    One would think so, but from my experience in public health, good intentions trump often trump effective market research, especially with these sorts of campaigns.

    I <headdesk> at health promotion campaigns all the time. Some years ago, we had a pedestrian-automobile injury reduction campaign called ‘Drive to Live: share the road’, where ‘live’ was meant to be read /lɪv/, as opposed to how everyone who actually read it on billboards and the like read it /laɪv/, as if it rhymed with ‘drive’, and were too busy puzzling over what driyve to liyve meant. I knew someone involved in that campaign, and no one in the planning committee bothered to stop and read the words as if they’d never heard them.

  39. says

    I don’t get how this is offensive. I mean, the women are clearly wearing glasses, and if TV has taught me anything, it’s that that makes them smart and nerdy regardless of any other extraneous factors.

  40. flapjack says

    That commercial triggers bad memories of a naff early 90’s ad for Pond’s cold creams in which a catwalk model in a labcoat would glide around a gleaming spotless white laboratory that looked like something out of a Vogue shoot, ernestly stroking her chin.
    The model in a labcoat explained that here at the ‘Pond’s institute’ they were conducting research into decreasing the signs of aging and had an extended chat about “retinol boosters” with another labcoated model.
    I got the impression that no-one featured in said ad had previously seen the inside of a laboratory let alone had science grants for dermatological research. Was just waiting for one of them to blurt out “What are those pale pink blobby things on the sciencey diagram again?”
    Can’t find the UK ad but this asian version gives you something of the flavour of it…

  41. says

    @1: Good god, that’s terrible! Where I work, I’m pretty sure such a rule would be against both provincial law and corporate policy. (But tech has always been a come-as-you-are environment).

  42. Brownian says

    That commercial triggers bad memories of a naff early 90′s ad for Pond’s cold creams in which a catwalk model in a labcoat would glide around a gleaming spotless white laboratory that looked like something out of a Vogue shoot, ernestly stroking her chin.

    I used to tell people I was studying to work at the Pond’s Institute because of the glass doors and the gleaming, shiny surfaces.

    But the ersatz scientific angle has been used to sell cosmetics for a while now. If you’re selling food, never mention chemicals. If you’re selling face cream or shampoo, make some chemical names up.

  43. CT says

    Eamon Knight
    22 June 2012 at 10:03 am
    @1: Good god, that’s terrible! Where I work, I’m pretty sure such a rule would be against both provincial law and corporate policy. (But tech has always been a come-as-you-are environment).

    I am, in fact, in tech. and a large corporate environment. Teh menz have me outnumbered however and have mansplained that dressing like them causes them to have a sad since everyone knows teh womyns must plez teh menz. and it’s confusing to have teh womynz look like teh menz!!!111!!!elebenty!

  44. Brownian says

    Ok, for balance, check out this video.

    I liked that one much better, but really: spelling science with a lipstick for the ‘i’?

  45. nonny says

    It is immensely patronising. Teenage girls aren’t stupid. They understand when they’re being patronised. I think many of them would just laugh at this ad.

    It’s an insult to science too. Science is intresting in itself. No lipstick needs to be added.

    The ads Kylie linked to are better; real women talking about their careers in science. That’s good to see. It’s a shame they felt the need to dress it up with this awful trailer.

  46. Emrysmyrddin says

    Ok, for balance, check out this video.

    Better, much better – still scrawled with makeup at the end, but at least it shows real women working hard at their professions.

  47. Beatrice says

    spelling science with a lipstick for the ‘i’?

    Yeah, I’ve watched a couple of those videos and every time I perk up because they’re actually good, I get annoyed by that pink lipstick.

  48. Emrysmyrddin says

    I liked that one much better, but really: spelling science with a lipstick for the ‘i’?

    An overwhelming ability to sexually attract AND telepathy. You’re overqualified for life.

  49. daenyx says

    Right. I totes decided I wanted a PhD because I got to work in a pink lab and look pretty.

    Because that’s all any of us “girls” want. Truly.

    I would dearly love to know who the FLYING FUCK thought this was a good idea.

  50. says

    The decent level of intelligence in youtube comments is likely because this video first began circulating amongst science circles. Rest assured that duchebags will eventually find it.

  51. iknklast says

    I’m a scientist. I’m a woman (NOT A GIRL!!!!!). I do Ecology, and doing field work in high heels and mini skirts would make me some sort of stupid (doing lab work in mini skirts and high heels would make me some sort of stupid, too). This is at least as patronising as those who pat us on the head and tell us to go back to the kitchen.

    You want to get women interested in my field of science? Show them women slogging along in hiking boots with butterfly nets, chasing bees on the wing, and coring trees. That’s great stuff. Much less boring than strutting my stuff.

  52. Ysanne says

    I never saw so many so impeccably groomed women in one place as in my microbiology practicals: Elaborate hairdo, full make-up, flawless manicure, stylish clothes that look sexy with a lab coat, 3″ heels, plus accessories that matched the shoes _and_ the safety glasses at the same time. (One of them even had the perfect Barbie voice. That was creepy.) And all of this at 8am, i.e. practically in the middle of the night by my standards.

    So, want to show stereotypically feminine-looking women scientists? Sure.

    But this ad? With all the strutting and wide-eyed open-mouthed shock? What girl would think “Yeah, that’s what I want to do for a living! Wiggle my ass for nerds to stare at, and get freaked out by all that weird science stuff going on in the lab!”

    It’s insulting.

  53. Emrysmyrddin says

    With the ‘girl’ thing, I think they’re aiming it at secondary school/high school kids and other minors, so it’s probably appropriate. If they called one of the professional scientists ‘girls’ then I’d be the first to get out the pitchfork.

  54. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Okay the thing that horrified me more than anything else in the OP video (and that’s saying something) is the way that while one woman is writing on a glassboard (what? we don’t know – it’s completely irrelevant compared to how she looks while doing the writing)

    **the other two women are locked together with one snuggled up behind, looking like they are about to make out**

    far be it from me to suggest that portraying lesbians in media is bad. But this isn’t that. This is two women practically making out (seriously, the pose has the one behind twisting her body to wrap around the curves of the one in front) in a stylized way that gives no indication that they are doing so for themselves and each other – the activity is clearly for the camera.

    We have a classic music/porn video with girl on girl action? It reminds me of this, more than anything else.

  55. cartomancer says

    I want to see what they’d come up with to get more LGBT people and ethnic minorities into science. “Science: it’s a gay thing!” featuring Abercrombie and Fitch models, bare-chested apart from an open lab coat, playing with unfeasibly suggestive phallic test tubes. Cut to discotheque-esque laser equipment and the word “science” with the C as a big rainbow.

    Or how about “Science: it’s a black thing!” – grinding hip-hop beats accompanying blinged-up rapper types in pimped-out lab goggles, gold-rimmed petri dishes, Neil DeGrasse Tyson with a ridiculous posse behind him, research grants delivered in unmarked bills… yeah, you get the idea.

    Well it amused me anyway.

  56. Dalillama says

    Surely there were professional advertising/PR people involved with this campaign, and it would surprise me to learn that they put it out there without any market researchy focus-group type stuff with members of the target demographic (which I guess to be ‘tweens’ around 12-14 yo).

    I’ve seen products of professional advertising people that sincerely make me wonder if they’re even from this planet. The more godawful and out of touch an advert is, the more I assume that it was produced by professionals after doing their market research.

  57. anotheratheist says

    Considering the knowledge and the depth of interest into science and in nature of the youth I think this spot is pretty appropriate. It just looks that much more bad because it is only aimed at girls. A spot only aimed at boys would conceptually be the same – intellectually equally poor – just using different stereotypes.

  58. trewesterre says

    If they wanted a trailer for their project where they interview female scientists and try to actually get girls and young women interested in science, why didn’t they just get each of the female scientists to say “I’m a scientist” (or biologist, chemist, astronomer…) into the camera, then splice those clips together with some real sciencey clips (perhaps the same women doing some science) and inspiring music in the background?

    That would be a much better trailer.

  59. flapjack says

    “But the ersatz scientific angle has been used to sell cosmetics for a while now. If you’re selling food, never mention chemicals. If you’re selling face cream or shampoo, make some chemical names up.”

    But surely pro-vitamins… they wouldn’t lie to me about those right?
    It’s the one naturally occuring vitamin that doesn’t carry an initial but an actual endorsement from the oldest profession.

  60. sheila says

    Actually I do know female astrophysicists who take great care over their appearance – and I think they’d have a cow over this. As several people have said, it’s the complete lack of science, and science is

  61. thunk = ∫ SQRRAWK! d(MQG) says

    I leave you with this:

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1962#comic

    And 69, anotheratheist:

    Hello there, since you obviously missed a few hundred (or more) years of history about the objectification of women, you should go learn a few more things.

    Additionally, thinking youth cannot handle *real* science… and need this shit is patently false as well.

    Go learn more things, then come back.

  62. says

    anotheratheist hinted at this.

    Without a title or description, I would have gotten the impression that this promotional teaser was directed straight at pre-teen boys, not girls. It practically shouts an insincere promise that you can, “Work in a lab and be surrounded by girls in miniskirts all the time!“.

    Ugh.

  63. sheila says

    Sorry. Wrong button.
    Actually I do know female astrophysicists who take great care over their appearance – and I think they’d have a cow over this too. As several people have said, this video has no science (or any brains), in it, and science is REALLY COOL!

    Fashion may or may not be a fun hobby for any woman, but even the most fashion concious astrophysicists I know would get far more excited over a supernova light curve than shoes.

  64. trewesterre says

    I think I know more women in astrophysics who are into knitting than I know who are into fashion (the former is a good activity during talks).

  65. says

    Heliantus:

    And I don’t want to sound mean, but the women I met in the labs I worked for were way more sexy than these 3 bimbos.

    Awesome, in thread discussing sexism, you’ve got to let us know what your penis thinks, AND you’ve got to use a misogynist slur about women who like to dress femme! (Because denigrating the “girly” isn’t misogynist at all, right?)

    Noyourgod:

    I can hardly wait for the campaign to get street walkers or porn stars into science! ;-)

    Because they’re all dumb bimbos, amirite?

    Crip Dyke, I agree with your observation; they’re implying lesbian porn there.

  66. says

    Okay replace the word “Science” with “Lipstick” and tell me how this differs from every other advert aimed at this particular sex and age group.

    Do you think the agencies who produce those sorts of adverts would be still doing it if they didn’t work?

  67. Brownian says

    Do you think the agencies who produce those sorts of adverts would be still doing it if they didn’t work?

    Yes.

  68. julian says

    I don’t know very much about how scientists dress but, I was led to believe you could be standing for a very long time during lab work. Would heels really be the type of footwear to wear?

  69. julian says

    Do you think the agencies who produce those sorts of adverts would be still doing it if they didn’t work?

    Brownian beat me to it but yes. Almost definitely. There’s a huge market for gender norms reinforcing literature passed off as science despite lacking anything but the most tenuous basis. An ad campaign like this is no different.

  70. trewesterre says

    The science I do mostly involves sitting at a desk working with data on a computer and I still don’t wear anthing but comfortable sneakers to work (well, except in the winter, then I have boots and change into my sneakers when I get to the office). I think in many (probably most) lab environments, heels are dangerous and generally not even allowed (especially if it’s open toe).

  71. says

    FlipC:

    Do you think the agencies who produce those sorts of adverts would be still doing it if they didn’t work?

    You’re kidding, right?

    Recently, Ashton Kutcher was shilling… something, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, he did part of the ad in brown face to play a character from India.

    Now, what matters more: the ad’s efficacy or it’s offensive stereotypes? Would you have handwaved the offensive racial stereotype away, too?

  72. Emrysmyrddin says

    Anyway, he did part of the ad in brown face to play a character from India.

    !O.O!

    *Googles*

    Holy fuck.

  73. Brownian says

    There’s a huge market for gender norms reinforcing literature passed off as science despite lacking anything but the most tenuous basis. An ad campaign like this is no different.

    Not to mention that creative types can be/are forced to be lazy. If the client wants what the client has seen a million times before, why not just phone it in on the way to cash the cheque, especially if the client is going to resist anything novel or interesting anyway?

    Also, stereotypes reinforce themselves. Assuming the existence of a stereotype implies the truth of it is question-begging. See Ben Radford’s circular reasoning here.

    Then, not all ad campaigns are conceived of by a Don Draper-type trying to change paradigms, and when they are, they cannot by definition be based on evidence that they’re going to work. I know an individual here who writes, produces and directs local TV spots. He’s certainly creative, but his thought process runs much more along the lines of “what would be fun and/or cool?” than “what would be effective?”

    And evidence for efficacy in advertising campaigns is often an afterthought, particularly so with campaigns developed by steering committee. For campaigns aimed at changing long-term behaviours among a population this is especially so, often due to the difficulty of measuring outcomes and tying them to a particular campaign ten or fifteen years previous against a background of multiple competing and/or complementary messaging. Anti-smoking campaigns are often an example of this problem.

    Finally, read the summary and study Chas’ linked to above via Kylie.

  74. jrel says

    I agree that this ad is so terrible, that it just might work.

    You have to understand the minds of young girls. They watch the youtube video, and if they aren’t insulted, they are at least perplexed. Right? Then they read the comments. And they see hundreds and hundreds of people saying the truth about women and science. The truth about why this sort of thing is wrong and stupid. About what science is really about, and what it really takes to get girls into it.

    This ends up having a positive effect. They learn a few valuable things all at once:

    – Advertising is lame and stereotypical and not to be trusted
    – Women aren’t all shallow, and being shallow is lame
    – Science is cool for girls for science sake
    – You don’t have to be pretty & fashionable to be cool

    So, the people who made the ad are just plain stupid, or very smart. Occam’s razor says their stupid, but I appreciate the byproduct.

  75. neuroturtle says

    The thing about these kind of campaigns is that they rarely have the funding to track outcomes. Statistics aren’t sexy, and funding is determined by what is sexy. (See DARE, and how everyone loves it even though it *increases* drug use in suburban kids.) The result is that nobody actually cares if the campaigns work; it’s only important that they look like they work.

  76. Brownian says

    This ends up having a positive effect.

    Except it doesn’t appear to have that effect.

    Since following links is hard, I’ll just copy and paste.

    Girlie scientist role models could do more harm than good

    The lack of women in science, maths and engineering (STEM) careers continues to raise concerns. One cause of the anomaly is thought to be beliefs among schoolchildren that these subjects are somehow inherently “masculine” and not for girls.

    So what’s needed to inspire schoolgirls, you might think, is sciencey female role models who show that you can be successful in STEM subjects and at the same time be feminine. Some attempts have already been made in that direction – the toy company Mattel brought out a “Computer Engineer Barbie” (complete with pink laptop) and mathematician Danica McKellar (pictured, right) has written a book aimed at inspiring girls: “Math Doesn’t Suck: How To Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind Or Breaking A Nail”. (Update: And the EU have just launched a new initiative “Science: it’s a girl thing”).

    The trouble, according to a pair of new studies by Diana Betz and Denise Sekaquaptewa at the University of Michigan, is that girlie science role models can backfire, actually putting off girls who have little existing interest in science and maths subjects.

    The first study involved 144 girls (average age 11.5 years) reading about female undergrad role models in a magazine-style interview. Some of the girls read about three female students who were successful in STEM subjects and were also overtly “girlie” (e.g. they wore make up and pink clothes, and liked reading fashion magazines). For schoolgirls who said they had little interest in science subjects, reading about these kind of role models actually diminished their plans to study maths in the future, reduced their maths interest, and lowered their belief in their own abilities and their chances of short-term success (as compared with outcomes for their like-minded peers who read about three successful STEM role-models who weren’t overtly girlie – for example, they wore dark-coloured clothes).

    Betz and Sekaquaptewa think this ironic effect could be because girlie female scientists seem extra-difficult to emulate. To test this, 42 more schoolgirls (average age 11.4 years) read interviews with more role models. Afterwards, girls who were uninterested in science subjects rated the success of girlie female scientists as less attainable than the success of female scientists who weren’t overtly girlie. Girls not interested in science also tended to say that being good at maths and being girlie don’t go together.

    What does all this mean? Although there’s plenty of evidence that stereotype-busting role models can be beneficial, these new results suggest that role models that take on too many stereotypic beliefs at once can actually backfire. “Young girls may see [the success of such role models] as particularly difficult to emulate,” the researchers said, “given their rigid stereotypes about gender and scientists.”

    This research focused on girls at middle-school and it’s important to note that the same findings may not apply to older teens or college students. No doubt some readers will also smart at the way femininity or girlieness was conceived in this study, potentially perpetuating unhelpful gender stereotypes. For now, Betz and Sekaquaptewa cautioned: “Submitting STEM role models to Pygmalion-style feminine makeovers may do more harm than good.”
    ——
    Betz, D., and Sekaquaptewa, D. (2012). My Fair Physicist? Feminine Math and Science Role Models Demotivate Young Girls. Social Psychological and Personality Science DOI: 10.1177/1948550612440735

  77. anotheratheist says

    The advertising industry is one of the most progressive industries there is. Case in point the gay JCPenny’s dads. If people in that industry use stereotypes they know they work.

  78. Brownian says

    The result is that nobody actually cares if the campaigns work; it’s only important that they look like they work.

    Anecdotal of course, but that’s been my experience in public health as well, neuroturtle, though the it’s not so much that nobody actually cares; the reality is slightly more complex than that, which I allude to in 91.

    And as I’m on the statistical side of things, I’d dispute your claim that statistics aren’t sexy…

  79. Brownian says

    The advertising industry is one of the most progressive industries there is.

    Assertion.

    Case in point the gay JCPenny’s dads.

    Anecdote.

    If people in that industry use stereotypes they know they work.

    Begging the question.

  80. nohellbelowus says

    Sounds like somebody should sponsor a contest with a prize for the best amateur video aimed at attracting women to science. The Reason Project has held several contests of a similar nature.

    Professor Myers?

  81. Beatrice says

    The advertising industry is one of the most progressive industries there is.

    Ahahahaha!

    … Wait, that wasn’t a joke?

  82. jessiexl says

    I showed this to my 13 year old when she came home from school. She thought the message was confusing because the words and images were inconsistent.

    I take my children to science fairs in the UK. These events don’t feel the need to patronise girls and young women and are always well attended by them.

  83. neuroturtle says

    Progressive? Haha. That’s totally why Dolce and Gabbana use rape triggers in their ads… totally progressive. Look sometime at the relative positions and body poses of men and women in magazine ads. Count how many men you see in TV ads for cleaning or baby products, and how many women you see engaged in any active behavior that isn’t childcare or cleaning. Not. Progressive.

    Advertising is designed to get into your brain. Activating stereotypes is an easy way to do that. JCPenney’s “whoa, there are people who aren’t straight!!11!” campaign is the outlier, not the norm.

  84. Beatrice says

    There certainly are a couple of advertising campaigns out there that could be called progressive. But really, they mostly stand out because they are so rare. On the other hand, adverts that reinforce stereotypes are dime a dozen.

  85. neuroturtle says

    Brownian –

    Statistics are totally sexy! (I’m spending today doing a load of analyses for a paper.) I’m teaching an intro to experimental design course for psych majors next semester, and I am trying desperately to think of ways to get across that stats ARE interesting, are extremely useful, and that knowing how they work can allow you to see through a lot of bullshit. But so many people are either terrified or totally uninterested…

  86. Brownian says

    Advertising is designed to get into your brain. Activating stereotypes is an easy way to do that.

    It’s why they’re a staple of hack comedy; the exact opposite of progressive.

  87. says

    @95:

    The advertising industry is one of the most progressive industries there is……If people in that industry use stereotypes they know they work.

    The second part does not follow from the first part, whether or not the first part is true. Some ad campaigns — “progressive” or otherwise — have been remarkable duds.

  88. Brownian says

    But so many people are either terrified or totally uninterested…

    That’s a whole issue unto itself. I wish I knew how to help.

  89. Sastra says

    So much fail! What can I say that hasn’t already been said?

    Well, the inappropriate clothes concerned me less than the fact that the model shots hardly ever showed the models even trying to do science — the exception being the girl writing some sort of formula on an invisible blackboard. Otherwise, it looked as if the girls could have originally been filmed for some other reason — a shampoo or shoe commercial, a music video, a preteen dance party show, whatever — but it wasn’t used. Then, the photographer got the science assignment and a light went off in his or her head: hey, they could save time and money by just shooting a bunch of “science stuff!” Splice it all together in the edit room and bam, it will look great. There’s almost no connection between what the girls are doing and what they’re supposed to be actually, you know, doing. Even a damn lipstick commercial shows the model putting on the lipstick.

    The only possible redeeming value for this video might be to use it against bullying. If girls who are already into science are being mocked by classmates for being unfeminine, the teacher can play this and hey, it looks like science is somehow connected with being a girly girl! In this alternative universe, the bullying then stops. The sexism runs rampant, of course — but since it is an alternative universe, they can just splice in a few more frames with “SEXISM IS UNKEWL!” and problem goes right away.

    In that world, the sky is, of course, pink.

  90. dianne says

    Want more women in science? It’s not that hard. Make it possible. Provide good day care for preschoolers and extended day care at school. Make maternity leave practical and not the kiss of death of women’s careers. Provide jobs. Really, women won’t go into STEM if they can’t get good jobs there. Men either. Fund scholarships. Want to make them MRA proof? Make the scholarship for the minority gender in the field, whichever one that may be at the moment. If you end up with, say, 55% of astronomers being women, the scholarship goes to men. Keep providing funding for research, teaching and implementation. Don’t stop funding research just because the economy hiccuped this week-this is your future and your life depends on getting it right. (Literally: you WILL die in the next 20-100 years if something isn’t done.) This won’t solve every problem, but it’s a necessary step. One not being taken in many countries.

  91. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Chas: Thanks for the links.
    Brownian: Thanks for repeat emphasis.

    The last line bears emphasizing:

    “Submitting STEM role models to Pygmalion-style feminine makeovers may do more harm than good.”

    If we could truthfully advertise science as a career in which the quality of your thoughts will carry you much farther than the length of your skirt*, this wouldn’t be worth discussing.

    *Maybe this is hyperbolic, but I don’t think by a lot.

  92. Brownian says

    Otherwise, it looked as if the girls could have originally been filmed for some other reason — a shampoo or shoe commercial, a music video, a preteen dance party show, whatever — but it wasn’t used. Then, the photographer got the science assignment and a light went off in his or her head: hey, they could save time and money by just shooting a bunch of “science stuff!”

    “Oh no! Arch-villains New Project and Impending Deadline are attacking the city! Quick, to the StockFootageMobile!”

  93. Greta Christina says

    Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    You know what? I like fashion. I like makeup. I like high heels. I like flirty dresses. I like coy poses. I like giggling. I have nothing against any of these things. I have objections to the expectation that all women take these on in order to be recognized as women… but I don’t automatically object to any of these things, and I enjoy all of them at various times in my life.

    And even I think this is fucked up beyond recognition.

  94. Amphiox says

    One has to wonder – were there any actual women involved at all in the making of this thing, and if there were, did anyone listen to them?

  95. says

    Considering the plethora of marketing disasters that are mindbogglingly stupid (and obviously bad ideas) people defending them as paragons of efficency and pragmatism are fucking insane.

    One example: any of Sony PLaystations commercials (such as the ebonic rats or latino dust balls or directed by David Lynch)

    Or twix creepy guy commercals…or M&Ms pretzles.
    Or axe body spray

    Ads are strange parallel universes running on logic only seen in insane trolls and porn

  96. astrogirl says

    I have never felt so patronised in my entire life. The MEN who came up with this have no idea that we are not a different species. Show me a powerful female scientist, doing research and making a difference, not prancing and over sexualising herself. This advert is clearly aimed at young men, not young woman, further revealing the ignorance of these people. I study physics, and I am fortunate enough to be in a class which is almost 50% female, within the university it is accepted and it is a non-issue. However when I look at the “outside world” and see their pathetic attempts at selling science, I realise that I am potentially facing an uphill battle in the future of my career.
    I also want to say that anyone who falls for these ads, should definitely not be pursuing a career in science.

  97. denisepatterson-monroe says

    “Neil DeGrasse Tyson with a ridiculous posse behind him”

    I would ABSOLUTELY buy that MP3.

  98. Emrysmyrddin says

    Reading back through the comments, Sastra at #109 nails it on the head as usual.
    None of these girls in the trailer are actually ‘doing’ science. The blackboard stuff is so messy and glossed over to be unreadable; the only actions they’re taking are dancing and giggling and shooting the kind of ‘come hither’ looks to the camera that I feel are particularly sexualised – odd if the vidoes are aimed at ‘Career Days’ rather than auditions for models. The cooing and hugging poses are like the old-fashioned soft-porn magazines where the models wore fluffy pyjamas and kitten heels. Where is the positive, scientific ‘doing’?

    It’s a shame, because I’ve taken a look at a few of the main videos and on the whole they’re not bad at all. Why screw up so hard in the trailer?

  99. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    The syntax on that one Youtube coment was so borked, I couldn’t tell if the poster was lauding or dissing Kari Byron from Mythbusters. From what people I know say, and what I’ve observed, I really think she’s been a very positive role-model for women to get into technical fields (even though her two degrees are in Art and Film.) She makes it appear that it’s not just a Boy’s Club™, and that it’s not necessary to frumpify yourself to fit in, either. Maybe these are ideals rather than reality, but the image doesn’t hurt.

    (Disclaimer: I know it makes me a terrible person, but she really gets my giblets in an uproar—hopefully that doesn’t bias my opinion too much.)

  100. dianne says

    Slightly off topic rant re Kari Byron, Neil Tyson, et al.

    I love Kari Byron and Mythbusters. I love Neil Tyson and all the outreach he does. But real science isn’t Neil appearing on talk shows or Byron blowing things up.

    Real science is Louis going to work hung over to design yet another drug that will probably die in silico or in vitro. It’s Rorschah and me snapping at each other about whether PZ should have had a bypass or PTCA and throwing references at each other. It’s PZ writing 10 grants to keep his lab afloat. It’s repeating the same experiment 50 times to make sure your first result wasn’t a fluke.

    In short, real science is little things done by imperfect people. The eureka moments are rare, progress is slow, and, frankly, most of us are too ugly for TV. No one dances around a lab in a miniskirt because we’re all afraid of what radioactive, acid or biohazard might drop on our skin if we did so. It’s just not a glamorous profession.

    But being the first person in the world to know something, even if it’s something “trivial” like whether or not CLL cells express CD39, is better than sex, chocolate, bacon, and the adoration of the public combined.

  101. Muse says

    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    (Disclaimer: I know it makes me a terrible person, but she really gets my giblets in an uproar—hopefully that doesn’t bias my opinion too much.)

    And you felt the need to include that exactly why?

  102. Emrysmyrddin says

    Great comment, dianne. Science is passion and stubbornness and patience attention to detail and creativity and all sorts of wonderful human things, that helps other people and the world we live in – far too deep and vital to be represented by the above trailer. You’d do a fantastic video yourself.

  103. Amphiox says

    It is interesting to note that when Kari Byron first appeared on Mythbusters, she was generally doing stereotypical feminine things – artsy stuff like decorating the experiments which really were completely unnecessary from the point of view of the science. Part of the reason of course being that she WAS an artist and not a technical person. So in the beginning it really seemed like she was just plopped into the show to be a pretty female face to attract viewers, without the qualifications to be an equal member of the team from the science side of things.

    But that changed steadily with time. You can almost see the pattern wherein she gets more and more scientific responsibilities within the show, until by the last 2 or 3 seasons she is an equal partner in all the science aspects of the experiments in the show.

    With respect to thread topic, ond can interpret this in a variety of ways.

  104. Ernst Hot says

    See, now all you misandrist FTB people are at it again! Stop bullying the EU!

    Fuck, that video is horrible… Let’s break down gender stereotypes by making a shallow, sexist as fuck video. And pink! all girls like pink right?

  105. nooneinparticular says

    @95 is wrong. If marketing is “progressive” it is either accidental or exploitative. He/she also said; “If people in that industry use stereotypes they know they work.” There is a kernel of truth to this.

    I’ve a friend who is high up in the marketing group at a popular on-line outdoor clothing corporation here in Seattle and because we recently had discussions about the impact of marketing on young girls (precipitated by 3rd and 4th grade classmates of our children, which would be a derail to go into here), when I saw this this morning and, apropos to our recent discussions, I forwarded her the link to this.

    One of the things she said in response (I’ve her permission to quote); “This is obviously aimed at teens and it is very slick. I like it*” …. “You asked if I thought it would be effective. Of course I don’t know the details but if I’m right about target audience…(it would) probably have quite a good response….. This is in the EU, right? I know it would likely play well here.”

    We’ve had discussions about the role of marketing in shaping social roles for men, women and children and she sometimes makes the claim that marketing is to “target audience” likes, though she acknowledges that marketers shape those preferences. There are definitely strong feedback loops. Still, I feel that if you feed people garbage long enough, they start to like it. I make the case sometimes when our discussions get heated that these ad campaigns are the symptom of a badly out-of-wack culture (not unique to us)and that marketing is not merely a passive contributor to that dysfunction but is a strong input, at least in that it serves to perpetuate some bad memes. This video is a case in point.

    My $0.02

    *she was referring here to production values.

  106. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    Muse says:
    22 June 2012 at 1:43 pm

    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    (Disclaimer: I know it makes me a terrible person, but she really gets my giblets in an uproar—hopefully that doesn’t bias my opinion too much.)

    And you felt the need to include that exactly why?

    Because I knew some purity troll would attack me for it, and I’m a masochist. Agreeing with you 120% isn’t good enough any more.

    That and every thread being hijacked by the AUM-troll gassing on for 37 pages about why agreeing with him from a point of insufficient purity makes you worse than a thousand Hitlers is why I only come by here once in a blue moon nowadays.

  107. Dalillama says

    The result is that nobody actually cares if the campaigns work; it’s only important that they look like they work.

    I recall reading a book by Drew Curtis (founder of Fark.com), in which he notes that with web advertising one can actually see directly how many clickthroughs each ad generates, and how many of those result in immediate sales (although you can’t know who comes back later to buy something). It seems that actual clickthoughs were something like 1% of what marketing companies liked to claim about the number of people who respond to the ads. In one case, an ad company was using all buzzing flashing animated ads, and Drew was getting endless complaints from the users. Shortly before he was going to contact the ad company and tell them that they needed to change their tack or he’d contract with someone else, they contacted him complaining that he wasn’t running the ads. It seems that they had not generated a single clickthrough the entire month and a half they’d been up. So, that’s an example of professional marketers at work.

  108. says

    It was horrible, obviously. It’s a PSA; AFAIK, all PSAs are horrible. But a point I think most of you are missing is that this is not a message intended for women who are interested in science, but rather for women who are NOT interested in science. The idea is to enable them to “see themselves” doing science, perhaps maybe even without having to become dour, plain, and boring.

    Showing them a realistic image of low heels and lots of laborious data collection isn’t going to get anyone interested in science. And at the risk of being falsely branded a misogynist until my dying breath, I might suggest that people who found it offensive for playing to stereotypes are actually just being a bit… defensive.

  109. says

    Case in point the gay JCPenny’s dads. If people in that industry use stereotypes they know they work.

    As much as I thought it was a cute and thoughtful ad spread, using two dads in the Father’s Day catalog was simply JC Penney thumbing its nose at One MillionFourty Thousand Moms.

    Let’s say stereotypes do to some degree “work”. Does that excuse reinforcing them? Does that excuse not looking for something else that “works”? It’s not like advertising is only made up of binary choices.

  110. says

    Dah, shit.
    I kept waiting for one of the girls to pull off the safety glasses, let her hair down, and say “now you know what the penalty for falsifying experimental data is, don’t you, doctor?”
    Somebody’s having a fantasy here, and it doesn’t seem to involve women doing actual science.

  111. patrickjulius says

    It’s totally possible to find sexy male scientists, if that’s how you think you could attract women to science.

    Richard Feynman, anyone?

  112. Emrysmyrddin says

    …perhaps maybe even without having to become dour, plain, and boring.

    Er, what?

    I might suggest that people who found it offensive for playing to stereotypes are actually just being a bit… defensive.

    Ah. You’re one of those. Fuck you very much, cupcake.

  113. jrel says

    @Brownian

    What does all this mean? Although there’s plenty of evidence that stereotype-busting role models can be beneficial, these new results suggest that role models that take on too many stereotypic beliefs at once can actually backfire.

    To clarify my original point, I think the outcome of this ‘girly’ ad may be one of busting these stereotype-busting roles. And that is why it just might work.

    Kids of the generation behind us don’t rely solely on authoritative arguments to formulate their ideas. They also rely very heavily on social arguments. If someone posts something on Facebook about how a movie sucked, but 8 out of 10 of the comments say “no way stfu it was awesome!” then they just might weigh it out to be awesome. Even though the original post said it sucked, the end result of a negative post was actually an endorsement for the movie.

    Perhaps we can hope for the same thing here. In this example, the video is showing one silly thing, and then there are 99% of the comments saying much more than a video could say. Which (in this case) many of the comments are essentially very good material for these kids to be reading and absorbing and learning about women and science.

    Now, I have to admit that most of the time I wish this weren’t true. That kids didn’t rely on comments to formulate opinions, but at times I think they really do.

  114. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    @maxdevlin, 133: No, this video was made to target teen girls and encourage them to GET interested in science. But even if it weren’t, even if what you said its target was was true – do you think that what’s portrayed in this video approaches anything CLOSE to the reality of the majority of women?

    CLUE: The answer is not just no but FUCK NO. Stereotypes notwithstanding, most women and indeed most girls do not live life this way or in any way that would make them associate positively with the portrayals in this video.

    @ The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge (HAH!)

    Because I knew some purity troll would attack me for it, and I’m a masochist.

    Jesus FUCK, can we cut the shit already? This has nothing to do with “purity” or sex negativity or whatevs and EVERYTHING to do with Dood, we don’t car wtf your pee-pee thinks. Notes from your Penis are not important to us on this topic of women in science, why did you feel it appropriate to bring your pee-pee’s thoughts into this discussion?

    That was the question, which is clearly relevant.

    As for the rest of your comment, what the hell is this I don’t even

  115. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    And at the risk of being falsely branded a misogynist until my dying breath, I might suggest that people who found it offensive for playing to stereotypes are actually just being a bit… defensive.

    Thank you for giving me a reason to post this link: Words Are Not Fists

    I’ve also remembered an incident from a women’s studies class of mine many years ago. It was a typical course: perhaps 30 women and 6 men. Most of the guys had been quiet all semester long. But one (there is often such a one) was a talker. “Kevin” liked to stir the proverbial pot; a member of the college’s forensics team, he was a skilled debater who liked to argue. Many of his female classmates argued back, not infrequently getting the better of him, which spurred Kevin to try even harder to instigate arguments.

    One day, Kevin came to class with a duffel bag. I thought little of it, until—in the midst of a discussion about men and feminism—he reached into the duffle and pulled out a football helmet. “I know I’m gonna get killed for what I’m about to say,” he announced dramatically. “I brought some protection.” Kevin then strapped the helmet on as his classmates and I stared in shock. I told him to cut out the cheap theatrics, but not before he’d made a powerful point, though I’m confident it wasn’t the one he intended to make.

    Kevin’s gag with the football helmet was designed to send a signal about women and anger. The message he wanted to send was, as he told me later, that “feminists take things too seriously and get too aggressive.” The message he actually sent was that men will go to great lengths to try and short-circuit women’s attempts at serious conversation.

    Yes, max, we see what you did there. The scary, scary chicks with their hysterical overreactions and illogical opinions are out to get ya! BOOGA BOOGA!

  116. kreativekaos says

    That video attempt addressed to girls and young women, ostensibly in order to stoke interest in science/technology careers, is an great example of what NOT to to do—an exercise in very bad marketing, coming out of a very naive mindset.

  117. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    That and every thread being hijacked by the AUM-troll gassing on for 37 pages about why agreeing with him from a point of insufficient purity makes you worse than a thousand Hitlers is why I only come by here once in a blue moon nowadays.

    huh. I’ve been here for years and I’ve never seen you before. Which, judging from incessant pouting and whining about how mean people are to your pee pee, THANK GAWD.

  118. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Illuminata, thanks for the link. That remains a great article, unfortunately, coz UGH. Hugo Schwyzer. Talk about putting your foot into it. D’ya think DJ learned from him how to handle these situations?

  119. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    *adding
    [/derail] to my comment above, since FtB ated my original.

  120. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    Jesus FUCK, can we cut the shit already? This has nothing to do with “purity” or sex negativity or whatevs and EVERYTHING to do with Dood, we don’t car wtf your pee-pee thinks. Notes from your Penis are not important to us on this topic of women in science, why did you feel it appropriate to bring your pee-pee’s thoughts into this discussion?

    That was the question, which is clearly relevant.

    As for the rest of your comment, what the hell is this I don’t even

    This has everything to do with purity and sex-negativity. Maybe you’ve been bathing in it so long that you don’t even see it, but it’s the dominant vibe here any more.

    If anybody remembers Elevatorgate (Ha!), I was right there through those multi-thousand comment threads supporting Watson all the way and telling off the Slimepit assholes day after day. Life intervened and I haven’t been here much any more, but if you can’t tell the atmosphere’s changed, I can. You can’t just agree with feminism, “The radical idea that women are people, too”—now you have to castrate yourself first or your agreement isn’t welcome. I don’t mean to insult all the great people who carried most of the water on those old threads—it’s a few self-righteous assholes who poison the whole dynamic. I’ll go away again after this, but just as a free piece of advice—if supporting feminism (which I do, and have for 45 years) means you have to join the Anti-Sex League, recruitment is going to suffer.

    As for the rest of my comment, I stand by it. The constantly-morphing AUM guy is the main reason these threads became unbearable. How anybody could sit through his assault on Louis the other day without calling for the banhammer on his ass just escapes me. You need a Lot more Louis’s and a lot fewer sanctimonious assholes like him.

    Well, so long—see you all in a couple more years…maybe.

  121. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Battleaxe, 146:

    Citation needed for… well, just about everything you spewed because shit, do we live in different realities? Is the sky even blue where you come from?

    “Castrate yourself”, really? If we’re scaring off “recruits” like you, that’s a GOOD thing because I sure as shit don’t want to be doing battle in the trenches and have to worry about the dood behind me who SAYS that he’s all about the equality but just as long as I allow him to make everything about the needs and wants of his Penis Almighty.

    Yeah, thanks, but no thanks.

    Stick the flounce, we’ll all miss you terribly and whatever.

  122. Brownian says

    But a point I think most of you are missing is that this is not a message intended for women who are interested in science, but rather for women who are NOT interested in science. The idea is to enable them to “see themselves” doing science, perhaps maybe even without having to become dour, plain, and boring.

    To clarify my original point, I think the outcome of this ‘girly’ ad may be one of busting these stereotype-busting roles. And that is why it just might work.

    HOLY FUCK ITS LIKE PEOPLE ARE FUCKING ALLERGIC TO FUCKING DATA.

    THE STUDY FROM 2012 SPECIFICALLY LOOKS AT ‘GIRLY’ + ‘SCIENTIST’ AS OPPOSED TO ‘SCIENTIST’ ALONE AND SUGGESTS THAT THE PAIRING LEADS TO EVEN LESS INTEREST AMONG STUDENTS WHO ARE NOT INTERESTED IN SCIENCE, BECAUSE THEY THINK THEY HAVE TO BE A MODEL AS WELL AS A SCIENTIST.

    SO, IT SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO YOUR POINT, MAXDEVLIN, AND CONTRADICTS YOURS JREL.

  123. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    wtf does “giblets in an uproar” mean anyway?

  124. Brownian says

    How anybody could sit through his assault on Louis the other day without calling for the banhammer on his ass just escapes me.

    “Don’t call me Darling, and here’s why.” = Omaha Beach

  125. Ernst Hot says

    Hello, my name is Thorsten and I’m a recovering sexist.

    In order to fit in here, I’m about to castrate myself. I would like some advice about the procedure from some of you men who has already performed the initiation rite though. What kind of instrument should I use? Will a sharp kitchen knife do?

    /snark

  126. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    That remains a great article, unfortunately, coz UGH. Hugo Schwyzer.

    Believe me, I know. How much does it completely suck that one of the best writers vis a vis male issues and male participation in feminism is THIS GUY?

    but, that doesn’t negate the point.

  127. wdcazz says

    I am offended. Most of my colleagues as I finished my Masters degree in Biology (Botany/entomology) were women. That was just the way it was. To be honest I never gave it a second thought.

  128. Brownian says

    Hello, my name is Thorsten and I’m a recovering sexist.

    In order to fit in here, I’m about to castrate myself. I would like some advice about the procedure from some of you men who has already performed the initiation rite though. What kind of instrument should I use? Will a sharp kitchen knife do?

    Don’t ask me. I was born without manly testicles, as anyone familiar with my commenting style can tell.

  129. Alex the Pretty Good says

    This is where my tax-money goes to? This is where they spend their way-too-small science budget on?!

    I’m pretty sure that most of the female students with whom I studied Geology and Biology here in Belgium would not identify with this ad.

    As for the older generations … I showed this ad to my mom, she actually started by thinking it was a sensibility campaign about STDs! Effective image there, ad-makers.

    ——–
    I guess I have to go to the European Comission and show them my idea for an ad. Can’t be worse than this one:

    Scene 1: Camera frames a working bench with typical lab-equipment (no flashy dry-ice smoke!!!). A person is working at the bench but we only see that person’s back clad in the typical white lab-coat, and the person’s hands during a series of shots of this person working with the equipment.

    Scene 2: Close up on a microscope and a hand (still in lab-coat) working the zoom. Maybe switch to a view of the sample on the microscope itself.

    Scene 3: view from behind of a person working at a computer, entering and manipulating data; writing an article. maybe pan to a coat-hanger with the lab-coat.

    Scene 4: start with a zoom on the now familiar shoulders in white. Start to zoom out and pan to show that this time it’s actually a white pantsuit or dress and the wearer (who only now turns out to be a woman) is receiving a prestegious award while being applauded.

    Slogan appears: “Science. It’s for everyone!”

  130. Kalliope says

    The Very Severed Battleaxe,

    Tell me, where does “keep it to yourself” end and castration begin? Am I castrating you if I say, “don’t hit on me on an elevator at 2 AM?” Or is it when I say, “Thanks, but I’m not interested?” Or is it when I say, “We’re not talking about the value of young women as masturbatory fantasies but as scientists and coworkers?” Or is it just anytime you’re on the wrong side of “don’t do that?”

    You want a cookie because one time you stood up for women? You think you’re inoculated from all future criticism?

    And another thing. I’m sex positive. Like, really, really sex positive. As in, it’s one of my top interests. But that’s not what we’re talking about here, so I can refrain from bringing it into the mix, just like I can refrain from bringing in my passion for dim sum. That doesn’t make me anti-chinese food. It makes me socially competent.

  131. says

    But a point I think most of you are missing is that this is not a message intended for women who are interested in science, but rather for women who are NOT interested in science. The idea is to enable them to “see themselves” doing science, perhaps maybe even without having to become dour, plain, and boring.

    A point I think many men miss is that “girly-girls” do not get up out of bed every morning with their hair perfectly styled, bodies waxed, and flawless makeup on their faces. They do not strut about comfortably for sixteen hours on 4″ heels for the sheer pleasure of it and without even a hint of foot swelling. They do not glance in the mirror once and then never again have to worry about fixing their hair and makeup multiple times throughout the day.

    It takes effort. Constant effort and awareness. Even if you enjoy it, that’s tiring to keep it up all day long when you’re going to extremes of gender performance. At eleven, fourteen, seventeen years old, a girl is already going to have some idea of the effort that goes into that. Even if she enjoys it, she also recognizes on some level that putting in the effort to maintain such an appearance takes energy. If she’s already disinclined to do something–such as, say, study math and sciences–being shown images that imply another heavy burden on top of studying would be expected of her is not encouraging.

  132. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Believe me, I know. How much does it completely suck that one of the best writers vis a vis male issues and male participation in feminism is THIS GUY?

    but, that doesn’t negate the point.

    Absolutely. It does remain a fantastic article.

    Thorsten – Instructions will come from the Feminist Hive Mind. If you don’t know, you’re not IN the know, if you know what I mean. (no need for a /snark tag here, right?)

  133. says

    Thorsten: happy to help.

    There’s a certain kind of man who thinks that supporting women requires castration. For those, I recommend the rubber band technique: firmly circle the base of the scrotum with thumb and forefinger, and then tightly wind a large rubber band around the tissue, tight enough to cut off all circulation to the testicles. Wait a few days to a few weeks, and it will fall off; or if you’re in a hurry, boxcutters will do. There will be very little bleeding.

    For the kind of man who doesn’t think masculinity is incompatible with normal human relationships, ignore the above procedure.

  134. Kalliope says

    Caerie,

    Yes to everything you said. I’m not the kind of person who enjoys being high maintenance in my grooming, but I do respect people who are because it’s hard work, and it’s a creative act. To me, there’s not a moral difference between that and being a good cook or keeping a gorgeous home. And there’s no morality in lacking an interest or talent in those things either. Degrading interests and skill in personal appearance is based in the long-standing misogyny of the “women are vain and lesser creature” trope combined with the frustration the rest of us have for being compared to the perfectly coiffed. That’s why I think movies like Legally Blond are great and positive for women.

    But, as you say, it IS a lot of work. And priorities have to be made, for the expenditure of time, money, and energy. Most people can’t do it all, and even more people than that don’t WANT to do it all.

    I can imagine being a girl, who didn’t put that much effort in my appearance to start with, seeing an ad like this and thinking, “OH great. Now I have to work my ass off in school and I’m still not up to snuff because I don’t have a perfect manicure and my parents won’t buy me expensive clothes.”

    MOST girls already feel like they can’t keep up on the personal appearance front. I don’t see an ad like this doing anything besides sending girls into self-esteem spirals.

  135. opposablethumbs says

    What turns kids on to science is good science programming. Scientists who are excited about their own subjects, who personally find their own subject the most fascinating, thrilling, intriguing, exciting, satisfying, blindingly incredibly fantastic thing in the known universe and who can communicate that to an audience. There’s no need to be condescending to convey “glamour” – the glamour of being at the cutting edge, rather than that of this silly trailer.

    I bet if they actually looked they could do a whole series.

  136. terrie says

    I like the idea of coming up with our own versions. What I’d do:

    Woman playing with her dog: Keeping my best buddy healthy? That’s science.
    Woman eating an apple: My favorite variety? That’s science.
    Woman filling her car at the gas station: More fuel efficient vehicles? That’s science.
    All three women in lab coats: Science drives the world. And we help make it happen.

  137. opposablethumbs says

    Both those versions of a trailer are great! I especially like terrie’s, because it immediately conveys the message “I could do that”. Brilliant.

  138. glowball says

    This video. Oh, gag! And they really think this is going to appeal to any girl? I think we all realize at an early age that anything marketed specifically “For Girls” is second rate at best. This does nothing to change that perception.
    “It’s a Girl Thing” would have totally turned me off when I was a teenager even before I saw five seconds of this crap.

  139. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    But a point I think most of you are missing is that this is not a message intended for women who are interested in science, but rather for women who are NOT interested in science. The idea is to enable them to “see themselves” doing science, perhaps maybe even without having to become dour, plain, and boring.

    The kind of girl this targets will never be interested in science. They’re interested in being bimbos. Which is not what science is about. That makes it false advertising.

    As a woman I’m definitely not interested in having those faux-scientists represent us, or to one day have to manage a bunch of pink-and-fluffy-headed females who care more about their looks than they do about competence.

    Curiosity is what gets you hooked to science. It often puts you apart from “girly” things (and even “boyish” ones – being a male nerd is not much better than being a female one in the schoolyard hierarchy) from a very young age. My chemistry promotion was about half women and none of us were ever into pink princesses.

    It’s totally possible to find sexy male scientists, if that’s how you think you could attract women to science.

    Richard Feynman, anyone?

    *drools*

  140. Heliantus says

    Apologies all around for my previous post.

    Sitting back and reading and learning.

  141. says

    By the way, the part about being a recovering sexist wasn’t snark.

    I think of it as a useful way of acknowledging that I’ve screwed up in the past and engaged in sexist behavior and while I’m now a lot more educated about what people who aren’t cis-hetero men go through, I’ll probably never fully understand and may still screw up from time to time. But instead of making up excuses, I’ll try to learn from this and modify my behavior.

    Does that make sense?

  142. Kalliope says

    Kemist –

    People who successfully put effort into their appearance are competent. They have a creative interest from which they get pleasure and validation. We could argue about the sources of that validation, but it still wouldn’t follow that they’re “bimbos” who deserve to be denigrated. It would also be a mistake to doubt the intelligence and competence of women who are conventionally attractive or who are able to make themselves conventionally attractive.

    You really don’t need to tear down some women to validate others who have different interests and abilities.

  143. The very model of a modern armchair general says

    I cannot fathom how that ad got made. I imagine that it must have started with some guy having an idea (I would normally say a person, but come ON, this HAD to have been the work of a male). So, somebody – maybe even a team – sat down and drafted a couple of ideas for an advert. And they liked this one the best. So they wrote a script, and sent it to somebody else to make a storyboard. Then they presented their idea to their boss, who must have liked it too. Then the agency pitched the concept to the EU commission, who agreed that this would do the job nicely. And then a cast and crew was put together, they shot the ad, edited it and posted it to various websites and social media platforms. Did nobody speak up? How did they manage not to have the same horrified reaction that everybody else on the internet seems to have had? Mind-boggling.

  144. ButchKitties says

    …and the video has been made private. It’s almost a shame. It had one of the few YT comment threads that didn’t make me want to headdesk myself into unconsciousness.

  145. neuroturtle says

    I think the only thing the video does get right is the target audience. Speaking from my personal experience in outreach and some research into the topic, girl children and boy children are equally likely to love science, to take risks, and to be outspoken. It’s in periadolescence that those girls get driven back into their shells, into the Female Mold.

    How much outreach is aimed at this age group? I’ve worked with the Girl Scouts with middle-schoolers, and it is epic fun. I just have a feeling that people love working with kids and then drop them once they get to this age, and that’s where we should really be focusing. And not just with Science Is Fun!!!, but with general academic confidence as well.

    Terrie, I like your videos! This would not be hard at all to do.

  146. says

    Kalliope:

    I’m not the kind of person who enjoys being high maintenance in my grooming, but I do respect people who are because it’s hard work, and it’s a creative act. To me, there’s not a moral difference between that and being a good cook or keeping a gorgeous home.

    [snip]

    MOST girls already feel like they can’t keep up on the personal appearance front. I don’t see an ad like this doing anything besides sending girls into self-esteem spirals.

    Exactly. There’s nothing wrong with putting effort into appearance. If it brings someone pleasure, wonderful! If they’ve dedicated years to it and developed great skill, fantastic! But it takes time, effort and resources.

    Additionally, there’s something about this trailer that makes me think of stereotype threat. I wonder if that might be coming into play here and in the article Brownian brought up earlier. If making African Americans think about race before taking a test will have an effect on their scores, it seems plausible that making girls think about gender stereotypes could reinforce existing ones, regardless of whether or not the aim was to encourage them in STEM subjects.

  147. terrie says

    Thanks for the comments. To me, there are two aspects to promoting STEM fields. 1) Make it accessible. Show kids, male and female, that you don’t need to the next Einstein to work in those areas. 2) Make it relevant. What the number one complaint you hear about science and math classes from kids? “When am I ever going to use this?” By showing them how STEM fields shape their whole lives, you show them that not only might they use it, but they can do some pretty neat stuff with it.

  148. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Seconding everything Caerie and Kalliope said in 175 and 171.

    Additionally, there’s something about this trailer that makes me think of stereotype threat.

    Absolutely! Ophelia, over on her blog, pointed to Skepchick’s post on the topic which includes a (brief-ish) discussion of stereotype threat as applicable to this video.

  149. johnfraser1 says

    “scientists think that women are…obsessed with fashion”

    i’d like to think otherwise but then i go out into the world and see women dressed in high heels and provocative and impractical clothing. a secretary i once worked with complained that she “wouldn’t have worn such high heels if i knew i would have to walk to another building” that day.

    women say “don’t think of us as sex objects” but then they wear revealing and constricting clothing. a friend’s girlfriend had to zip up her jeans with a coat hanger they were so tight.

    the list goes on; you can fill it in for yourself.

    not all women are slaves to fashion but enough that fashion dominates woman’s culture, wasting money, precious resources and getting in the way of the practicalities of day-to-day living. my hat is off to woman who resist this decadent fashion.

  150. macrophage says

    So here’s the thing. I’m a woman about to graduate with a PhD in what’s considered a hard science in a STEM field. And I’m very seriously considering leaving AND am no longer encouraging anyone to enter science for one reason: I can’t find a job. I’ve sent out over 100 applications for jobs in industry, academia and government, and have hired a recruiter and headhunter. I’ve also applied to many of the “alternative careers” for PhDs. And the only prospect I have for my near future is unemployment.

    You want women and girls to go into and stay in science? There need to be jobs that pay living wages in science. And don’t tell us we can’t work and have families, as I’ve been repeatedly told by numerous “mentors”.

    I’m not alone in this. Many of the postdocs in my department, male and female, are also talking about leaving science altogether for the same reason. None of us was ever told we’d have to find a new job every 2-3 years for 3-4 postdocs following a PhD. And most can’t do that with a family in tow. But that is the reality we’re facing when trying to find a job in sciences.

    We work 60+ hours a week for low pay and there’s no pay-off. There is no shortage of scientists, in spite of what we’ve been told. There are job openings listed but no one is actually hiring.

    So why should women go into science? Heck, why should anyone go into science? Intellectual pursuit won’t pay the rent. Doing it all for the love of science won’t repay the student loans. And neither will most starting salaries, assuming anyone is actually hiring.

    The irony about this video is that those of us working in science can’t even afford the clothes, shoes or cosmetics shown. Unless, of course, they were found at the local Goodwill or Salvation Army.

  151. The very model of a modern armchair general says

    And the video is now vanished. I look forward to reading their humble press release.

  152. Jerry says

    To dianne re comment #125:
    Well stated. I’ve had that feeling of knowing I was the first person in the world to see something (a protein structure). I try to share that sense of wonder when I speak at schools. If your workplace has an outreach program, then I hope you go. I think you’d be a good speaker.

    To armchair general re comment #172:
    You are probably right in how that stoopid ad was conceived and approved. Notice who is missing from your thoughts on the design process of an ad about becoming girls becoming scientists? That’s right, female _scientists_. My guess is that no female bench scientists nor female science teachers were consulted for their opinions. Probably no scientists or teachers at all, but the relevant ones would have been women. No way to tell if I’m right, but this ad trailer was just so awful that I can’t imagine it was, shall we say, peer reviewed.

  153. NuMad says

    FlipC,

    Okay replace the word “Science” with “Lipstick” and tell me how this differs from every other advert aimed at this particular sex and age group.

    Lipstick commercials feature lipstick tubes because that’s what they’re selling, not because women and girls identify so much with the image of a lipstick tube that it’s an attractive symbol no matter how crudely and irrelevantly applied it is.

    I wonder if it’s possible that the average cosmetic commercial relies on a higher respect for science in its audience than this ad does.

  154. Louis says

    1) Dianne, #125:

    Real science is Louis going to work hung over to design yet another drug that will probably die in silico or in vitro.

    Oh yeah, that’s right, my pain is just some rhetorical gambit for you. Just wave it around like I don’t sob broken-heartedly to sleep every night on my massive silken Big Pharma pillow woven from the skins of dead babies and tox-screen/LD50 rats.

    Oh and to be briefly serious, I’m not always hung over. Or drunk, or otherwise intoxicated/impaired. For some reason yesterday was a special occasion. I think the day had a “y” in it. I promise I am the epitome of professionalism. Normally. Well most of the time. Okay there was this one thing I did last…forget it…

    2) Right Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

    Thanks for the support, genuinely, I am grateful, but if my name is going to be wielded aside that gorgeous battleaxe of yours, allow me to etch a word or thirty million onto it! ;-)

    a) LILAPWL was well within his rights to ask me not to talk to him a specific way, he saw it as homophobic (and within the set of experiences he’s had was right to do so), and I was wrong to lose my temper and double down. As I said. Repeatedly. And apologised for, ad nauseum!

    b) Whether or not I am right or wrong about the orthogonal linguistic argument, let’s just go with it really wasn’t the best time to have that argument. Annoyingly it looks to some like a weaselling/notpology attempt. It isn’t, but I can really see how people get that impression. Meh, diplomacy and timing are not two of my better skills. I’ll have that argument another day, hopefully not directly after my mouth and my foot have come in close conjunction.

    c) Anti-sex? Castrated? Where? I don’t get that sense from people here at all, in fact I get the opposite, that most of the commenters here are pretty sex positive. Given that there is no shortage of people out there perfectly happy to pounce on my (or anyone’s) every error, and boy howdy there are a lot of errors, I’ve been blatantly pro-hook up, pro-one night stand, pro-chatting women up etc etc and not a sound of outrage has been heard. Why?

    Well, because with great power comes great responsibility!

    Sorry, sorry, couldn’t resist!

    Let’s flip into my past, make it my hypothetical present, my magic wand has now been waved and I am mysteriously back in the meat market of life once more. I’m happy to be told “no”. Seriously, over the moon. If I’ve plucked up sufficient courage to ask a woman for a drink or whatever, I’m overjoyed to be acknowledged, let alone left alive! Not out of some ridiculous low self esteem, but because I empathise. I get it. I get how frustrating it must be to have dozens of blokes fawn/dribble over you at nigh on every given opportunity, so I try to make any approach as inoffensive, easily refused, and polite as possible. Who the fuck wants to be that guy?

    Maybe I’m wrong but I hope the majority of people here don’t have the impression that I am some sleezy woman harassing scumbag.

    Scumbag and sleezy I can handle…but woman harassing? Nahhhhh. ;-)

    Louis

  155. Louis says

    Also, this advert is big bag of dogshit. Except dogshit is comparatively useful.

    Louis

  156. Kalliope says

    Caerie and Gen,

    About stereotype bias confirmation, my brother is something of a jock. His great interest is sports and he played for his college team and was very involved in everything related to the team. He went to a very well regarded, small, East Coast college and was pegged early as one of the few jocks on campus, despite the fact that he was recruited to boost their STEM departments. He went into college with a sense of being one of the smartest kids in his high school.

    While he was in school, several of his liberal arts professors (mostly female, I’m sad to say) has an obvious bias against his intellectual ability. He also has a speech impediment. He would show me great papers he wrote, papers for which I would have received an A, filled with comments about his lack of insight and the presence of privileged bias. They also took his satire literally (and he is one of the funniest people I know — and I’ve trained at Second City).

    In short, they assumed that he was a dumb jock.

    When he went to grad school for computer science, his research team won some awards for their AI work. He didn’t tell anyone in the family, and when it was finally dragged out he said, “Oh, well they just felt sorry for us because our project was so terrible.” He graduated with a near perfect GPA and instead of being proud, said, “It doesn’t mean anything. It’s not that great of a school,” and, “It’s only because I’m a native English speaker.”

    In short, his accomplishments meant nothing to him because he was ingrained with the idea that he was a jock and jocks aren’t smart. Therefore, the accomplishments were suspect.

  157. keenacat says

    i’d like to think otherwise but then i go out into the world and see women dressed in high heels and provocative and impractical clothing. a secretary i once worked with… blah blah blubb anecdata ramble shame mumble blame…

    Dude (and I assume you are a dude, because of the staggering blindness you show)…
    Did it ever occur to you that there just may be an eensy bit of societal pressure on women to dress in a certain way, to fulfill male expectations in a certain way and to behave themselves in a certain way when, from babyhood onwards, they are constantly bombarded with ads, jokes, stories, words… that show them their worth is basically defined through their appeal to men.

  158. Muse says

    Battleaxe – how exactly was your penis’ response to the woman in question relevant? I asked you a fairly simple question – and you got pretty damn het up about it. See – I actually am a masochist – I just don’t get my jollies from (as you admitted) trolling.

    johnfraser1 – Society sucks. Women have a very unpleasant tightrope to walk. If you eschew fashion then you’re censured, if you follow it, then people like you call you shallow. Society dictates that women must be casually perfect, and it sucks.

  159. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    dianne 125: Also, word.

    macrophage: I’d like to validate your concerns. I have become reluctant to encourage any but the best students to enter the field (especially basic research) because job prospects are so poor. To get funding anymore requires a kind of badassery that frightens me. The level of talent and drive out there is stunning– the number of talented and driven scientists who can’t get funding (in the US anyway) is mortifying. Worse still, jobs are so scarce that funding is no longer sufficient. The competition is often lateral (applicants already hold professorships), and it makes it very fucking hard for someone junior to break in, however talented they may be.

    I’m a little sick thinking about it.

  160. Beatrice says

    johnfraser1,

    “scientists think that women are…obsessed with fashion”

    i’d like to think otherwise but then i go out into the world and see women dressed in high heels and provocative and impractical clothing.

    Highe heels and/or provocative clothing ≠ obsessed with fashion

    And besides, what is wrong with liking fashion? Personally, I don’t have much use of it, and it mostly annoys me because styles of clothes that I like get out of fashion which makes them difficult to find. Not to mention that I have neither money nor will to change my wardrobe every year/season. But I have female friends who take fashion seriously. I take it as any other hobby : I may not be interested in it, but it’s their thing and I will talk and listen about it as long as they don’t get overboard talking about something I hold little interest in.

    a secretary i once worked with complained that she “wouldn’t have worn such high heels if i knew i would have to walk to another building” that day.

    We don’t live in a vacuum. We get influenced by society and its expectations. There are a lot of expectations women are supposed to live up to.

    We have to look nice, no matter what we do. “Looking nice” can also be very strictly defined in certain work places. We are bombarded by expectations from every side.

    Do you know that there are workplaces with dress codes for women where we have to wear high heels and make-up? Sometimes those dress codes exist in places where high heels can make a job very difficult.

    women say “don’t think of us as sex objects” but then they wear revealing and constricting clothing.

    If you think that wearing revealing clothes erases woman’s humanity and turns her into an object of your pleasure than I think anything I can say to you is obsolete. You are someone who should be kept away from women.

    a friend’s girlfriend had to zip up her jeans with a coat hanger they were so tight.

    I’m not even sure what this means.

    the list goes on; you can fill it in for yourself.

    I’m sure you observed thoroughly to get all the info for your list.
    Please, stay away from women.

    not all women are slaves to fashion but enough that fashion dominates woman’s culture, wasting money, precious resources and getting in the way of the practicalities of day-to-day living. my hat is off to woman who resist this decadent fashion.

    I partly agree that fashion is a waste of money. But so are a lot of things. As long as we could keep the fashion world from feeding into women’s insecurities and using them, as well as contributing to sexism and objectification of women, as long it could be just a hobby as any other – I’d have no complaints.

  161. Emrysmyrddin says

    So, you either have to be

    dour, plain, and boring

    or

    decadent

    Huh. That’s rather dichotomous. There’s a name for that sort of female stereotype dictotomy; if only my ladybrain could recall…if only it was a well-known concept that had been discussed many times before…hmm…

    [STEM]job prospects are so poor…

    This worries me, because there is always more room for more science to be done, and the lack of funding to me equals a lack of respect and future-planning.

  162. cyan says

    @macrophage

    You wrote exactly what I’ve been thinking throughout reading these comments.

    Perhaps the money for these ads would be better put to use to try to increase the public’s awareness of how their cushy lifestyles are due to science, and that funding scientific research is necessary for maintaining that cushiness. An increase in awareness & appreciation –> willingness to fund more research –> more science positions.

  163. says

    Augh this is so annoying. Also? Video is private now.

    I don’t think I need to restate how incredibly condescending this is; but, fuck it’s so condescending.

    Not only is every female into pink stuff, but especially the science-oriented ones! Granted, there’s nothing wrong with femme female scientists. Not every female is like that though. Inherent problems with advertising.

  164. terrie says

    Research funding and employment is a bit of a different topic from encouraging interesting science and math among pre-teen and teen girls. There are plenty of jobs that require a STEM background and education that 1) do not require a PhD and 2) are not research. I don’t work in a STEM field, but have been well served by maintaining my education in those areas.

  165. says

    yeesh, it has the stink of “X-TREME” youth-centered advertising (which is overwhelmingly forumulated by out of touch old men).

    I am tired of this shit. I got tired of it when it was Cheerleading For Science and I had it out with a bunch of douchebags on zuska’s blog years ago.

  166. Beatrice says

    Re-watching the video, I’m realizing that the beginning is more disturbing than I thought.

  167. madscientist says

    Clueless dudes make ad appealing to pubescent teen males while believing it will attract women to science. That’s like saying if you have a huge Penthouse collection that’s going to attract the most intelligent and beautiful women as a mate. Some (no, unfortunately many) people have a bizarre notion of reality.

  168. says

    PROBLEM: Young girls are discouraged from science because they feel that they will be sexually objectified and told that they can’t comprehend anything other that doesn’t involve prettiness.
    SOLUTION: Create a video that sexually objectifies young girls and implies that they can’t comprehend science unless it’s pretty

    ????????

    I really wish the answer to “Girls feel that STEM careers are masculine” wasn’t “look, it totally can be stereotypically feminine” but “science is gender neutral” or “there’s nothing wrong with masculine women.”

    Particularly the last one. Nothing bugs the fuck out of me like “What, you like technology? Uh, that’s okay because it can be girly too!” I don’t want to be feminine. I (tend to) shy away from femininity. All this shit does is takes it from “STEM careers are for men” to “STEM careers are for men and the women that are feminine enough to balance it out.”

  169. CT says

    a friend’s girlfriend had to zip up her jeans with a coat hanger they were so tight.

    I’m not even sure what this means.

    ah, context, there is none. perhaps they meant to insert the word “slutty slut sluts” in there somewhere?

  170. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    We could argue about the sources of that validation, but it still wouldn’t follow that they’re “bimbos” who deserve to be denigrated.

    Isn’t constant and exagerated effort made please, please, please men, what makes one a bimbo ?

    You really don’t need to tear down some women to validate others who have different interests and abilities.

    Oh, they get plenty of validation from a lot of people, and they certainly never needed our nerdly attention or pity.

    They reinforce the social pressure on girls to conform to the princess model and to invalidate *us* boring, dour, ugly nerdettes. I’d rather not have them invade our turf.

    I like my plain clothes, comfortable sneakers and conversations about actually interesting things, like the ivy bridge architecture, palladium catalysis and Game of Thrones.

  171. keenacat says

    They reinforce the social pressure on girls to conform to the princess model and to invalidate *us* boring, dour, ugly nerdettes.

    Can you plz avoid shaming other women for their choices or interests just as you (rightfully) expect not to be shamed? Because really, fuck that. Every women has her own ways of dealing with the patriarchy and some rather go with the flow than alienate Teh Doodz. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. Also, fashion and make up are not inherently “less interesting” than your interests just because you say so. I have yet other interests and neither fashion nor Game of Thrones particularly fascinate me, but I’m not going around hounding other women for differing interests, am I?

  172. says

    a friend’s girlfriend had to zip up her jeans with a coat hanger they were so tight.

    I’m not even sure what this means.

    The slider on the zipper has a small hole in it. You hook the end of the coat hanger through it and then have a larger handle to use to pull the zipper closed.

    And then when your zipper breaks because they were never designed to be treated that way, you keep your skintight pants shut with safety pins and let people think this is a purposeful, edgy fashion statement.

  173. Kalliope says

    Kemist,

    Right. So you object to the pressures women face to be “proper” females based on an external set of criteria, and then replace that criteria with your own. You want to be the one who gets to validate and everyone who doesn’t fit into your paradigm gets hit with dehumanizing, degrading terms like “bimbo.”

    What I really hear you saying is that seeing women who are conventionally attractive or who achieve conventional attractiveness make you feel less than. But isn’t that very comparison seen through the eyes of those very same men?

    You don’t get to decide what is actually interesting, only what is interesting to you. And you certainly can’t get the entire world to agree with you on those things. Your standards for yourself are fine and I support your pursuit of your own dress and intellectual preferences. I won’t offer other women less.

  174. CT says

    And then when your zipper breaks because they were never designed to be treated that way, you keep your skintight pants shut with safety pins and let people think this is a purposeful, edgy fashion statement.

    AHAAHa just had massive flashback to 1983

  175. Beatrice says

    Isn’t constant and exagerated effort made please, please, please men, what makes one a bimbo ?

    I honestly have no idea what makes one a bimbo since the definition changes depending on who’s doing the mocking.

    Oh, they get plenty of validation from a lot of people, and they certainly never needed our nerdly attention or pity.

    Is this where nerds get all holier than thou?

    They reinforce the social pressure on girls to conform to the princess model and to invalidate *us* boring, dour, ugly nerdettes. I’d rather not have them invade our turf.

    And they are under no influence or pressure to conform? I’m assuming that we are still talking about these elusive “bimbos” and not about chill girls or similar, because those are really actively working against womens’ equality while bimbos (at least according to some approximation of what I’m guessing a bimbo is) are mostly just worse than some of us at escaping the pressure to conform. There might be some overlap with chill girls, but I don’t see why there would be no overlap with those from “our turf”. Unless bimbo also includes being stupid, in that case you don’t really have to worry about them invading your turf.

    I like my plain clothes, comfortable sneakers and conversations about actually interesting things, like the ivy bridge architecture, palladium catalysis and Game of Thrones.

    Oh, so you really are just using this opportunity to feel superior to those stupid women.

  176. Beatrice says

    Caerie #206,

    Ooooh, I get it now.

    [OT admission of succumbing to pressure on girls]
    I wore too tight jeans when I was 13-14, but never had to resort to such desperate measures. And I wasn’t trying to look sexy, I was just a bit too fearful of getting fat so I kept buying jeans of the same size I used to buy when I was younger, desperately trying to fool myself into believing my body wasn’t changing.

  177. CT says

    I wasn’t trying to look sexy

    It was more about fitting in — ha, see what I did there?

  178. Agent Silversmith, Feathered Patella Association says

    Bimbo – it’s a Jim Reeves song.

    Surely, a video promoting science as a career should make science the star of the show. Properly presented, it can lure young minds into a career on its own. It’s a shame the video makers couldn’t trust this and reached for the rankest cliches about women in science instead.

  179. Beatrice says

    It was more about fitting in — ha, see what I did there?

    Yeah :)
    If only I could have fit in. I had stomach ache from how tight those jeans were. Thankfully, I got over trying to fit in. In both senses.

  180. Beatrice says

    Thankfully, I got over trying to fit in.

    Ok, mostly. There were phases.

    I still sometimes wish I could just fit in somewhere. I’m just less willing to pretend I’m something I’m not to accomplish that.

  181. CT says

    If only I could have fit in. I had stomach ache from how tight those jeans were. Thankfully, I got over trying to fit in. In both senses

    Since I’m pathologically incapable of trusting anyone, fitting in was never anything I was worried about. I did, however, now that I’m remembering, think that super tight jeans made me look hot. and I wanted to look hot because I was a horny 12 yr old. but being completely pathologically incapable of trusting anyone meant that it did me no good because all the guys were terrified of me and my brains, big mouth, and tendency to clench my fists when they talked to me.

    I still get a nostalgia when I think about it.

  182. macrophage says

    We shouldn’t be encouraging anyone – male, female or anyone outside the dicotomy – to go into the field until there are actual jobs to support them. If this video pushes women away from the field, perhaps that’s a good thing. Maybe it will push them into a field where there is an actual demand.

    And, no, there really aren’t jobs for STEM professionals out there right now. Not in research, not in manufacturing, not in R&D, not in government, not in patent law, not in compliance, not anywhere. And there aren’t any more jobs for those with a BS or MS. There is no demand for STEM jobs. Those that keep claiming there is such a demand are either willfully ignoring the evidence or are flat-out lying.

  183. ChasCPeterson says

    wtf does “giblets in an uproar” mean anyway?

    well, so, “giblets” in USAmerican usage refers to the organ meats that are packaged–along with the neck–with commercially available turkeys. Specifically the heart, liver, and gizzard. They are usually cooked and minced as part of the gravy. So good on mashed potatoes. Next November.

    Right, so, “giblets in an uproar” can only refer to liver damage or heart disease (on account of humans lack gizzards).

    hth

  184. says

    If this video pushes women away from the field, perhaps that’s a good thing. Maybe it will push them into a field where there is an actual demand.

    Maybe the men should leave and find jobs where their massive forearms and external genitalia will be more useful.

  185. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    And, no, there really aren’t jobs for STEM professionals out there right now. Not in research, not in manufacturing, not in R&D, not in government, not in patent law, not in compliance, not anywhere.

    In all fairness, the job market is for shit for most people in most places.

  186. Ava, Oporornis maledetta says

    When I was in college chemistry class, two guys got expelled from the class. They had been overheard plotting to throw chemcals on a pretty girl’s clothing so she would be forced to strip in class and use the emergency shower. The prof was a woman. I wonder if a male prof would have expelled the two guys.

  187. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Kalliope:

    MOST girls already feel like they can’t keep up on the personal appearance front. I don’t see an ad like this doing anything besides sending girls into self-esteem spirals.

    Yes.

    I also wouldn’t show Legally Blonde to my kids until high school. I think in middle school the project of fitting in is just too intense, and the “follow the boy” motivation of the main character (what’s her name again?) would seem super-reasonable instead of “You’re spending 200k to go to law school when it has had nothing to do with your interests at any time in your life bcuz maybe boy? GTFO.”

    And even in high school, I wouldn’t let them see it without having a conversation about it. And yet, the fact that it is portrayed in a way where, to those that understand, the ridiculous choices are part of the humor makes Legally Blonde somewhat redeeming. It has a Hollywood ending, sure, but she doesn’t get the guy – she moves past guys altogether. Her original motivations are shown to be ridiculous.

    What chaps my hide is that I feel like I have to apply *more* stringent controls on watching this PSA than on watching a movie that embraces being absolutely terrible so that it can, through hyperbole and irony, communicate critique of the central character without losing sympathy for the main character.

    While there’s no critique of the hyper-feminine beauty project of the central character in Legally Blonde, there is no critique of sexism AT ALL in this PSA.

    Women aren’t getting into germ-line STEM studies/jobs? Let’s make a PSA that assumes sexism isn’t the problem, it’s the solution!

    Yeah. That’ll work. Because everyone knows that Marie Curie was just a stand in for the vast majority of women PhDs who were employed in teaching and research jobs at the turn of the last century. More sexism was much better for getting women into STEM careers then, right?

    =========
    Oh, gods. I can’t believe I actually seriously written about this PSA. It really doesn’t deserve analysis (especially after someone helpfully found that study on the effect of femininity on the impact of women role models’ value to girls that might enter STEM careers).

    It really just deserves derision.

  188. nonny says

    Her name’s ‘Elle’ and she does get a guy at the end, a guy who appreciates her mind as well as her body and who was supportive instead of treating her like shit.

    I love that movie and the musical version, despites its flaws. It’s just so fun!

  189. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    But being the first person in the world to know something, even if it’s something “trivial” like whether or not CLL cells express CD39, is better than sex, chocolate, bacon, and the adoration of the public combined.

    New life goal: have sex with chocolate-covered bacon in public while discovering completely new fact.

    Other than that, this video looks horrifying and not worth finding my headphones to watch.

    Does anyone have some suggestions for GOOD influential material for girls who might be interested in the sciences? My daughter rather likes the flashy/frilly stuff, but is adamant that she wants to be a doctor, and I want to support this as best I can while encouraging her to maintain a broad range of interests.

  190. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Her name’s ‘Elle’ and she does get a guy at the end, a guy who appreciates her mind as well as her body and who was supportive instead of treating her like shit.

    And more importantly, the focus at the end of the movie is on her academic and professional accomplishments, with her “getting a guy” as a parenthetical aside. I think THAT’s the best part.

  191. DLC says

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/She_Blinded_Me_with_Science

    The producers of the OP video need to at least reach the level of Thomas Dolby in science outreach, and they fail, miserably.

    (*note : I am aware that Dolby had no intention whatever of trying to popularize science in his video. Had he been an American, Dolby probably would have said “She gave me the doubletalk” or “she blinded me with bullshit” but still. The video does have Magnus Pyke in it. )

  192. madscientist says

    @ava#223: Most other male chemists I know would happily expel such idiots. Hell, I’d expel them for much less than that; I don’t tolerate stupid behavior in the laboratory – it gets people killed, and that’s no joke.

  193. crocodoc says

    The original video has been taken down, not too surprising.
    Here’s a mirror:

  194. Arkady says

    @Macrophage

    Depressing as it is, I have to agree with you. Science as a subject is amazing, but as a profession? I’m in the final stages of my PhD and as I half-jokingly say to colleagues, my post-PhD career ambitions stretch as far as having a job that conforms to the European Working Time directive (i.e. not more than 48hrs per week and at least 11 hours of continuous rest/time-away-from-work between shifts. A student who graduated from my lab last year is now training to become a tree surgeon. A friend of my flatmate quit his postdoc to become a technician

    It may just be the exhaustion talking at times, but I want out (of academia at least… not that there are many industry jobs, and those few that are available are with startups that may not last as long as a postdoc). I’ll apply for the NHS scheme (to work in hospital testing labs) but other than that am definitely considering a ‘normal’ job, where I get to go home and have a few hours off every evening before sleep, and these mythical things called ‘weekends’ exist…

    As for the video: heh. Does anyone wear pretty clothes they’re really fond of to do labwork? This week I’ve counted at least the 4th spot of bleach splashed onto my work trousers. At least the bleach is pink tho (good ol’ Virkon! Killing pathogens in hot pink, suitably girl-coloured style!), so the stains are stereotype-suitable (/snark).

  195. terrie says

    I have a suspicion that the employment reports are looking at all levels of STEM workers, down to the Associate degree level. Technicians still require a good grounding in the basics, so it makes sense to encourage girls in middle school and high school to stick with science and math beyond the bare minimum requirements. I work in academia. The remedial and basic level STEM courses at my college are packed.

  196. opposablethumbs says

    I’d be interested (and would appreciate it) to know what anyone thinks would be areas worth exploring for a young woman when she finishes her biochemistry degree (UK), if anyone fancies throwing out a few thoughts … ?

  197. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    I’d be interested (and would appreciate it) to know what anyone thinks would be areas worth exploring for a young woman when she finishes her biochemistry degree (UK), if anyone fancies throwing out a few thoughts … ?

    Well, micro RNAs have seemed a cool subject in the last few years. Kind of microbiology/chemistry frontier thing that’s the ideal turf for biochemists.

    Not many applications yet, but looks promising, especially in cancer research.

  198. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    Oh, so you really are just using this opportunity to feel superior to those stupid women.

    Nope.

    I’m using this opportunity to express how fucking tired I am of all this fucking pressure to fit into prefabricated gender models.

    If I have to watch another stupid movie where the poor ugly tomboy who wears shoes that are not also convenient instruments of torture becomes all pretty, happier, accepted and so much better after being transformed into A Real Woman by a well-meaning fashion-obsessed friend, I think I’m gonna puke.

    I have nothing against their interests except that they don’t interest me. It’s a bit like religion. Affirming that you are an atheist and think that the religious believe in bullshit does not mean that you think you’re superior and they’re stupid. But they’re so used to get their way that the simple affirmation that you exist and do not admire them gets taken as an insult.

  199. Arkady says

    @ opposablethumbs

    Depends what sort of job you want! (helpful, I know…)

    Since you’ve just graduated from undergrad, the NHS scientist training programme will be open to you, but be warned; it will be cluttered up with people like me! My knowledge of the system largely comes from a friend who applied straight after her biochemistry degree and got quite far through selection, but lost out to people with PhDs in the end and was advised to go away, get a PhD and come back again. The recruitment rounds open at the end of every calendar year and the last one closed at the end of February this year. That’s just for England, you may also want to check out what equivalents Wales and Scotland have.

    In the short term, research assistant positions generally pay enough to maintain an undergrad-lifestyle (housesharing, generally no car) while you search for better jobs, and give more research experience which may help you decide if you want to stay in science. While I haven’t enjoyed my PhD all that much (2 out of 4 years where nothing worked, with the continuous worry I now have that my data isn’t enough for me to get a PhD at the end and I’ll be downgraded to a Masters), if you get a funded position it is 3-4 years of employment after all. Under no circumstances would I advise you to self fund a PhD, (well, if you have filthy rich parents maybe, but only then) my flatmate tried to self-fund part-time without a solid job to back it up, ended up going into severe debt and dropping out, and is still paying off the debt while working minimum wage retail.

    Advice is all relative tho, there’s no safe bets. When I started the PhD there was a lot of big pharma virus research in the UK – that’s all shut down since I started, including at the company where I was supposed to do an industrial placement as part of my CASE studentship.

  200. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    heh. Does anyone wear pretty clothes they’re really fond of to do labwork?

    If you’re in organic chem I’d advise against bringing anything you’re fond of in the lab, from laptop to shoes.

    Laptop keyboards and shoes are not too fond of solvents.

    One woman I worked with once broke a full 4L chloroform bottle on the floor. Before she had time to step away, the soles on both her shoes kind of melted in place.

    You can still see the sole marks on the floor, years later.

  201. opposablethumbs says

    kemist and Arkady, thank you very much for that – I’ll pass the info on (sorry, I should have been clear – this isn’t me (I’m not even a scientist, I just hang out here learning stuff from all the cool scientists – and non-scientists :-) )) but a young person who has a couple of years to go before she even finishes her BSc. She’s not so much research/academia oriented, and as a non-scientist I was wondering what sorts of areas a future just-barely-fledged biochemist should look at (like, in industry, the NHS …). She’s interested in communicating science/science in the media, too, which is why I’m going to point her towards this whole thread when I get the chance!

  202. says

    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

    She makes it appear that it’s not just a Boy’s Club™, and that it’s not necessary to frumpify yourself to fit in, either.

    Yes, the worst possible thing a woman can be is a “frump.” Why, you’d almost think that getting girls interested in science is less important than making sure they remain fuckable to a majority of men!

    I know it makes me a terrible person, but she really gets my giblets in an uproar

    Not a terrible person, just another derpmeister who thinks anyone here cares what his boner likes, and pre-empts his declaration with martyrial hyperbole.

    Because I knew some purity troll would attack me for it, and I’m a masochist. Agreeing with you 120% isn’t good enough any more.

    “Purity troll”? Leave the “But, but, but I’m really your ally, honest!” whining at DailyKos. Or at JT Eberhard’s blog. If you’re actually on my side, suck it up when you get called out on bullshit.

    why I only come by here once in a blue moon nowadays.

    …and nothing of value was lost.

    now you have to castrate yourself first or your agreement isn’t welcome.

    DEM MEAN FEMINAZIS WON’T LET ME TELL DEM WHAT MY PEE-PEE LIKES!! I SHOULD BE ABLE TO SAY THAT ANYWHERE!!

    I’ll go away again after this

    Promise?

    but just as a free piece of advice

    Oooh, I love it when teh menz tell us how to do feminism correctly! Because our fluffy pink ladybrainz can’ figure it out on our own!

    if supporting feminism (which I do, and have for 45 years) means you have to join the Anti-Sex League, recruitment is going to suffer

    Men who conflate hypersexualized stereotypes with “sex” aren’t really my allies.

    I’m sure you think you’ve “supported” feminism for 45 years. You wouldn’t be the first baby boomer d00d who’s cool with feminism until he actually has to rethink some of his underlying assumptions and feelings of entitlement.

    Maxdevlin:

    this is not a message intended for women who are interested in science, but rather for women who are NOT interested in science.

    It would make you look a lot smarter if you read the thread before commenting. A link disproving this assertion was posted twice, and the second time it was accompanied by a blockquote.

    And at the risk of being falsely branded a misogynist until my dying breath, I might suggest that people who found it offensive for playing to stereotypes are actually just being a bit… defensive.

    “You ladiez are just toooo sensitive! But I’m really on your side, really, and how dare you tell me I’m not!”

    Heliantus, thanks.

    Kemist, thanks a hell of a lot for adding some Special Female™ misogyny to the thread. You’d think that there hadn’t already been a discussion a few comments above yours about how dumping on makeup and fashion was inherently misogynist because it’s a gendered activity in our society and because it actually does require some creative skill. Or that I and a few other people hadn’t already called Heliantus out for using the word “bimbo.” And, by the way, don’t use “females” as a fucking noun.

    Also, science isn’t your fucking “turf,” any more than it’s the “turf” of sexist men who want to keep women out. If a woman has the skills and desire to be in science, it’s none of your goddamn business how she looks.

    I have nothing against their interests except that they don’t interest me….But they’re so used to get their way that the simple affirmation that you exist and do not admire them gets taken as an insult.

    Yeah, I can’t imagine how “bimbo” could be construed as an insult, or having something against their interests.

    Shorter John Fraser: Sexism is all teh wimminz’ fault because they wear slutty clothing. Societal pressures don’t matter (including the demands by many employers that women look “professional,” which often includes high heels). Also, all fashion is “decadent” and unimportant, because adorning oneself is stupid and pointless. Unlike, of course, anything that men choose to do.

  203. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    Yeah, I can’t imagine how “bimbo” could be construed as an insult, or having something against their interests.

    I’m sorry for using that word, I admit that I read that discussion a little fast.

    If a woman has the skills and desire to be in science, it’s none of your goddamn business how she looks.

    I agree with that, actually – if it goes both ways.

    I think I was a bit ticked off by the “boring and dour” comment somebody (I don’t even remember who, bit lazy this late to look it up) made ealier.

    I have been bullied repeatedly by those… popular? girls (and their sycophantic boyfriends) during a very long time. Made to feel inadequate, weird, a worthless freak because of my complete lack of interest in those “girly” things. So much so that my current invisibility as a plain, boring nerd first felt like a blessing.

    Add to that pressure from family and friends to become more “feminine”…

    I tried, I really did. But I felt like a clown, or maybe someone in disguise – it’s not me, and will likely never be, whatever the movies say.

    That’s why I despise the “pink power” stuff. The rest of us, the invisible, plain ones, are excluded from that, unless we conform, and become pink princesses ourselves. Not a single shred of thought is spared for girls who do not want to be pink princesses.

    We don’t even exist.

  204. says

    Kemist, I hear you. I can do the “girly” thing for dates and weddings and job interviews, but normally people are lucky if I remember to run a comb through my hair before I leave the house. Working in a corporate environment, I do of course make sure my hair is relatively neat and I adhere to the dress code, but that’s really it. I will go out to the supermarket or over to a friend’s house in sweatpants and a T-shirt and sneakers, and people who take issue with that can suck it. The older I’ve gotten, the less I care.

    I think there’s a line to be walked between making femminess mandatory and despising it outright. The girls and women you describe were bullies, and I dealt with my share of those as well. They certainly bear age-appropriate moral responsibility for their actions. Yet the best way to discourage such bullying is to create an environment in which how anyone expresses their gender is not policed at all, so that “dowdy” geekery has no more moral weight than applying foundation does(*), and it doesn’t matter who’s doing the one or the other.

    (*) Sure, medical research may have more benefit to humanity than eyeliner… but can you say the same about first-person shooter games?

    And I have to end by mentioning that a few of the strongest feminists I know are quite femme.