It's a Girl Thing

By Sean Carroll | June 22, 2012 9:34 am

Update: Ha! They took down the video. Fortunately it’s copied here. The EU commission has acknowledged its goof, and wants to make a list of real women scientists.

I can’t come up with a better phrase for this video than Peter Coles did: “patronizing drivel.” And YouTube users — not always the most discriminating bunch — agree, giving it “55 likes, 1,848 dislikes.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZtMmt5rC6g

They mean well. It’s a video from the European Commission on Research and Innovation, trying to get girls interested in science. A noble goal, and we should be thinking of innovative ways to make it happen.

The problem is that whoever made the video clearly starts from the assumption that girls hate actual science, and therefore the route to increasing their interest is to pretend that science is all about lipstick and sunglasses and runway models draped in pink. Science isn’t actually about that. But science is interesting! For girls and boys alike.

If you want to make science seem exciting to girls, it helps to start from a perspective that science is interesting to all human beings, and that girls are human beings.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Top Posts, Women in Science
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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .

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