I heard about a video trying to get girls interested in science that was published by a European Commission circulating around Europe on NPR and I was intrigued. The video was getting some backlash for appearing too “girly” and having the opposite of its intended effect – that is, instead of appealing to girls to get into the sciences, it was pushing them away. As soon as I got to a computer I searched for this video because I had to see it for myself. It was worse than anything I could ever have imagined.
The opening is a mix between Sex In The City and Charlie’s Angels (I love both but I don’t see what they have to do with science – especially for young teen girls). It then shows the girls striking poses and laughing with shots of makeup and beakers interspersed between. Yes, you read that correctly. Make up – specifically nail polish, lip gloss, lip stick and blue eyeshadow.
There is so much I want to say about this video but I don’t want to sound like a raving lunatic. This video in a nutshell represents everything bad with marketing geared toward women. It’s the science PSA version of a pink sneaker for adult women. I wish I could have sat in on this pitch meeting to hear what the thought process was behind this. I would bet money that there were no women in this meeting – at least no women scientists.
WHY would you try to get young women to go into the fields of science with MAKEUP? Are you trying to tell them they can make the next great lipstick formula?? WHY wouldn’t you just highlight the many technological advancements that benefit health, living and the environment instead. WHY wouldn’t you show the many achievements of scientists and inspire young women to aspire to great heights? WHY must we throw pink on everything just because it’s aimed at people with ovaries. CAN WE JUST STOP!
You know how we’re trying to introduce science to the Tiny Dancer? My daughter is just learning to talk and some of the first few words my husband was teaching her were “math” and “science”. When I first heard it I thought it was cute and funny. The more I thought about it, the more I thought my husband is brilliant. We’re starting at an early age to introduce her to math and science – at first just with words, and later with actions and experiments. The main goal is to not let science and math be something that’s viewed as scary or hard. If she likes it and wants to do it, she can. Her having ovaries should have nothing to do with it her abilities. We sure as hell won’t be showing her videos young girls wearing too much makeup and giggling to get her to see that science can be wonderful.