Science- It's a Girl Thing!
June 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm #25488
I’m a little speechless from the ad, but the website seems… decent. And it’s a European Community thing, so… What the blazes is going on, here? I know there is an insanely large gap between the number of women verses the number of men in the hard sciences (and while the gap is smaller in humanities/ soft ones, I know one still exists- I’m there now), but… Lipstick? Blush? Spikey heels? I mean, I hate standing to teach for an hour in heels, I can’t imagine standing over experiments all day. Maybe if I got used to it… but then I’d kill my feet and back.
Anyway, is the ad (and the lipstick) just a fluke in the marketing scheme for a program that could, actually, do some serious good for women in science? Or do these people genuinely not get it?June 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm #25489
Looking at some of the other videos, it appears to be more of a fluke in the marketing scheme. Most of the other videos are just interviews with women scientists about what they do and why they got interested in science, with maybe some shots in there of them having a life outside the lab.
I think the main problem though is it isn’t targeted at your age group. I would imagine this being targeted mostly at girls who are around 4-7 years away from entering college, right about when they start choosing what subjects they are more likely to focus studying on. Maybe I’m way off base here, but a lot of product advertising directed at this demographic (11-14 year old girls) is how they can grow up and be cool and feminine. That is the age when things like lipstick and heels are still idolized as symbols of maturity (like, not like old though. The models are still very youthful). I think the message that they are trying to send is that being a scientists won’t mean you have to lose any of your dreams of what being a woman is like.
For example, the videos for engineering (1) and applied physics (2) take care to show the interviewees do interesting things outside the lab. The engineer starts off above a monitor of her playing a guitar and then later shows her rock climbing (in a gym though). The applied physics major is in a band, and goes through great lengths to explain how that having a lot of boys in physics is like having 200 older brothers (This segment is actually pretty patronizing, but on the other hand, it makes sense when looking at the demographic).
Basically, I think that this is probably very good targeted advertising, that is getting responded to poorly by people who aren’t the target demographic (Kind of like the Dr. Pepper 10 ads, or Barbie Dolls, or Bratz (Ugh, Bratz)). The makers of the advertisement didn’t care what woman scientists think, but they already choose their career path. I’m not sure how I feel about that, because it spits in their face while it tries to help them. Most of the rest of the campaign seems to be fine though (except that applied physics one, that got on my nerves. Mostly because only a few of my peers act like idiots trying to impress the girls. Once again though, not for me)June 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm #25490
2-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=113YCpmDrII&feature=plcpJune 23, 2012 at 9:23 am #25491
So apparently the link is broken or whatever (thanks Cat). Here’s the original video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g032MPrSjFA
And here’s the official website: http://science-girl-thing.eu/
I think you’re onto something with that idea of the target age-group, Dr_Demento. I don’t speak any foreign languages, but I couldn’t help but notice that “girl” and “boy” rather than “man” and “woman” were being used (especially in the applied physics one). I think that probably backs your assessment up a lot.
Along those lines, while I think you’re right that “girls” of the target age are still idolizing lipstick and heeled shoes, it’s a little unnerving to see that being taken advantage of and positively reinforced. I don’t have a solution or replacement, a simple thing they could use that wouldn’t bore the girls but instead draw them in- but that doesn’t perpetuate older notions of beauty and what is and is not appropriate for women in society. I wish I could, though. I guess that while I’m not against a woman wearing lipstick and heels, I don’t think that should be presented as the only way to make it fun or awesome- I’d rather see a variety of women, so sure, ones in heels and such, but also some sneakers and flats or something, too.
But back to that applied physics one. It got on my nerves a lot, I think partially because of the constant “boy” and “girl” I mentioned before. And I understood what the woman was talking about, but yes, the wording could have been better to get the same point across.June 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm #25492
OK, I’m just going to give you my impressions while I watch the commercial.
1) The women are very “commercial”. They seem to have been chosen because they have a more approachable look. In spite of the high heels, they’re dressed in a pretty simple way. More Macy’s and Kohl’s than high fashion.
2) The man they have chosen is model handsome. He does not have that same approachable look.
3) The makeup part is interesting to me because I know a lot of cosmetic brands (e.g. L’Oreal) encourage women in science through scholarship programs and the like. However, the shoes make no sense.
4) The distillation equipment struck me as “ooo something science-y” but I liked how they threw in the girl working out a problem.
5) The random posing seems out of place.
6) Yeah, not good that it looks like they caused a massive (probably dangerous) reaction in the middle.June 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm #25493
OK, when I watched the commercial, I just got the sense it was a terrible commercial. The visuals were not making the point they wanted to make. What they should have done is plot it out like a typical college/women in science commercial showing girls in the classroom or the lab maybe working on creating cosmetic products. Instead, the message got very garbled. It was more like the women had invaded this male scientist’s world and made a mess of things. More “Bringing Up Baby” than Rosalind Franklin.
I guess because of my background, I read the commercial differently. I thought they were emphasizing the cosmetics to show the different applications of science. But I do agree that that’s kind of offensive and exclusionary. Like, let the girls play with makeup while the men cure diseases.June 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm #25494
Hilarious. I wonder if mainland Europe (still in denial that we’re part of the EC, since 197whatever!) has less of Britain’s ‘issue’ of girls doing far better in all academia at the schools level.
I guess we really need some 11-14 year old girls – I mean, from a consequentialist point of view, even if it seems condescending, if it sets people on a path into science who otherwise wouldn’t, to what extent does it matter how it looks to more grown-up sensible people? (#devilsadvocate #noonecooluseshashtagsnotontwitter )June 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm #25505
Honestly, I think the way you get more women in science is by encouraging them. Through the extremely accurate information gathering otherwise known as my own personal experience, I’ve gotten the impression that girls are more likely to take advantage of resources like office hours and review sessions and study groups. All you need to do is strike an interest and then reinforce that interest with encouragement and readily accessible resources.June 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm #25534
I wonder how much of that office hour seeking comes from insecurity about their abilities. I found the women that came to my office hours didn’t really need to- they had the info, they were second-guessing. The guys, the rare ones that came, were all way off the mark.
Not arguing, you just gave me a thought…June 29, 2012 at 8:50 am #25545
Here’s the official reply, for what it’s worth:
Log in to reply to this topic.