Why “Pinkifying” Science Does More Harm Than Good

It’s a tough fight, trying to keep girls and women interested in and doing science. So it’s extremely sad when a well meaning campaign makes the entire scientific community sick to its collective stomach. I present to you: “Science, it’s a Girl Thing!” And here is the teaser video, in all its glory…

Elyse sums it up quite nicely if you can’t stand to watch the whole thing:

SCIENCE: Where preteen girls can celebrate sexualization by much older men!
SCIENCE: It’s how to meet a sugar daddy!
SCIENCE: Because someone out there has a nerd glasses fetish.

(UPDATE 16:00 CDT: The video above is now listed as private. I’ll leave it embedded for now in case it returns. I can only hope this is a good sign and that the complaints have been heard.)

(UPDATE 6/23 10:15 CDT: I’ve mirrored the video for instructional purposes. This is a failed attempt at marketing a really good idea, and should remain up so that a) this post makes sense and b) we can all learn from it what not to do.)

I don’t say “teaser” lightly, you see. In fact, if the women in this video actually did a strip tease out of their lab coats for their male colleague, it would have fit right in. Apparently, women stomp into the lab with impractically high heels, short skirts, trendy hair, and give sexy looks to the hot guy in the lab. Oh, and they are spilling makeup and lipstick everywhere. I’m pretty sure my chemistry professor would have immediately kicked out anyone contaminating their lab space with so much powder, and I’d be pretty pissed at anyone who dares come near my telescope with a tube of lipstick.

So there’s lots of make-up, sexiness, pop music, typical “girl” things that are so cliche that I can’t even begin to get into it… and… where’s the science? Oh right, there are pretty liquids bubbling and making smoke. Yes, I get it. I use dry ice to entertain a crowd, too, but then I actually teach them some science. But apparently bubbly things MEAN science! Hydrogen! Giggles! Writing equations on a uselessly clear board! Strike a pose! Yeah, that’s exactly what we do in the lab all day. It’s amazing that any male scientist can ever get any work done with us strutting around like that!

Clearly, they got the image wrong, wrong, wrong. It is, as Sharon Hill, a real-life geologist, puts it, “as if Disney channel male execs do “science Barbie”.” I am not of the Disney Channel generation, so maybe I’m missing something in thinking that this kind of campaign is absolutely revolting.

Or, maybe not.

A real woman, doing real science. Thanks, Lisa May!

BugGirl and Rebbecca passed along these two studies that indicate that a campaign like this only serves to demotivate girls. Unfortunately, the articles themselves are behind a paywall, but I’ll try and summarize the conclusions as best I can.

In a 2002 study of “stereotype threat” and its effects on women’s achievement in quantitative studies, the researchers found that female undergraduates with an ability in math performed worse than their male colleagues, but only when subjected to gender-stereotype television commercials beforehand. The control group showed no difference in math scores. Furthermore, in studies where these commercials were used to prime students before having to choose between a math and a verbal test, women exposed to the gender stereotypes were more likely to choose the verbal test, avoiding the math. When exposed to traditional “girly” stereotypes, these women were more likely to shun quantitative analysis, not run towards it with open arms. The same was shown when women were asked about their vocational aspirations.

It begins to look like this “teaser” is designed to do the complete opposite of what the creators intended.

A more recent study looks more directly at the feminine-STEM advertising that this video embodies. (STEM = science, technology, engineering, and math.) Created as a response to overwhelming stereotypes that science is unfeminine and that women scientists are not “woman enough,” this kind of advertising hopes to entice girls back into science. However, this experiment shows the reverse effect. Girls who did not show an interest in STEM fields were less likely to report wanting to go on to study STEM fields in college after reading about a very feminine college science student, versus a gender neutral one. Even the girls who did have an interest in STEM beforehand were more likely to underrate their own ability after this. Yet, a feminine role model with an unspecified major had no such effect, only the feminine scientist. Further study revealed a plausible hypothesis: girls felt it was unlikely they could live up to both the science aptitude AND femininity of these new, girly science role models.

(UPDATE 12:40 CDT: Science writer extraordinaire Jennifer Ouellette pointed out this New Scientist article that gives a great description of the study above.)

(UPDATE 14:25 CDT: Several astronomers have pointed out this critique of the study in question. Although I agree with the author’s conclusions that the study is small and the results preliminary and address that in the next sentence.  But that’s how science often works, incrementally.)

Of course, there are just two studies in a whole field, and a broader reading of the literature is necessary to get the whole picture. However, such studies should give one pause before trying to “pinkify” science, no matter how well-meaning you are.

To be fair, the rest of the videos on the website are very encouraging. Here is just one example of a real woman scientist that is featured:

This is excellent. THIS I identify with, yes partly because she is also an astronomer. Her childhood story is one that many 10-year-olds would identify with and it even shows her wearing pink and doing something artistic and creative! Wow! And then that lipstick writing shows up at the end and I just cringe.

Girls need positive female role models in STEM, and this website is trying to make that happen. That is great. My advice to the European Commission on Research and Innovation is this… ditch the lipstick logo. Get rid of that awful video. Seriously, that is doing more harm than good, and everyone thinks you are silly. But I get it. You are trying to achieve a worthy goal. Just ditch the teaser, and make a new one. How about, say, a composite of those excellent women scientists featured in your other videos? Go ahead. Take my ideas. They are free.

For the love of science, please, just stop with the lipstick.

More of my girlfriends, just doing science! (With love to Gail and Genevieve)

P.S. Thanks, Will, for the pdfs!

P.P.S Added 14:25 CDT… I’m not in any way dissing scientists who are feminine! I’ve worn heels at conferences and I even wear sundresses to work. I’m a bellydancer for crying out loud. Do you have any idea how much glitter, makeup, and strutting is involved in that?! The point here is the uber-feminization, or someone’s idea of it, in advertising such as this. Scientists are a diverse bunch, and that should be emphasized.

P.P.P.S. Added 6/23 10:15 CDT: Many thanks to MSNBC’s Alan Boyle for keeping up with the European Commission’s responses! (See his updates at the end.)


Nicole is a professor, astronomer, educator, geek, dog mom, occasional fitness nerd, and maker of tiny comets. She is also very loud under the right circumstances. Like what you read? Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/noisyastronomer

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  1. Wow… when i saw this link i thought they were doing a good thing since i’d only read the physorg article about it, which was half a paragraph long. Had no idea how they were actually doing it.

  2. There was also a piece on BetaBeat on stories from high school girls taking computer science classes: http://betabeat.com/2012/06/real-tales-of-learning-computer-science-as-a-high-school-girl-stuyvesant/

    An interesting theme I noticed was that many of the girls felt like they had to choose between the humanities and STEM. As an engineer, I can absolutely say that skills and perspectives gained from studying humanities and social sciences are hugely beneficial to people working in the sciences. I’m quoting myself from Twitter here, but maybe it’s more important to show that STEM is compatible with English and art than with lipstick and heels to get girls interested.

    1. As someone more interested in English and art than science, that would have been the perfect way to get me to want to be a scientist as a child. I have certainly always felt exactly as you describe, that I can be good at only one or the other, and since the humanities come more naturally to me, that’s what I chose.

      I don’t think any girls are under the impression they can’t wear lipstick if they’re a scientist…

    2. You can also work as a social scientist in a STEM discipline as well. I come from an IT school and I’m teaching in an IT program. I teach computer science and design courses and do my sociologically grounded research, balancing the super tech and the social stuff. “Hard” sciences and social sciences are not a zero sum game.

    3. There’s a quote by J-Live where he says “Ask yourself, even if you got one target, Ain’t you better off with two darts?”

      I so wish that some of science could be viewed through this lens. I mean, I know people who don’t care about math almost at all, but when I show then that I can use math to help analyze stats, which in turn improves my fantasy football numbers, suddenly they’re all into the conversation. Same goes when it comes to marketing yourself. Just 10 years ago people didn’t know the first thing about HTML or programming, now its a regular hobby among people who don’t even think of CS as a career choice.

      I think that a key part of this diversifying science should focus on the fact that, no matter what you’re interested in, there’s a connection to science. And the more cleanly we can explain (ala non-science journal jargon) this connection, the more attractive we’ll make the scientific fields look.

    4. I think that a lot of the false dichotomy is created by people in one who are bad at the other, and voice their irritations as though everyone in the field agrees – or SHOULD agree – with them.

      As someone in the humanities who is good at science, I’ve seen it from both sides. My own parents, though they wouldn’t actively discourage me from something I was good at and enjoyed, were humanities people who always saw my interest in the sciences as odd (though I don’t think they’re the reason I ultimately decided to pursue a humanities field, since the particular field I chose isn’t something they understood, either). And I’ve seen it ten times worse with people in my schools who liked science and acted like they shouldn’t have to take English and history classes, and who often chastised people who were good at math and natural sciences but ultimately wanted to pursue a career in the humanities or social sciences as “not serious enough.” Or talk down on humanities majors who can’t do calculus as stupid, when they can’t write themselves out of a paper bag, even though, no offense, writing is useful to a lot more careers (including most math and science careers) than calculus is.

      Also, people are always making cases for why it’s important for STEM types to learn about the humanities/social sciences but I can think of at least two humanities careers where an understanding of science is important, too: journalism and law/politics. There are so many journalists who have no concept of how to read a scientific study and who just have piss-poor science literacy, and require amounts of having to read between the lines that, while important skills for an informed citizen anyway, shouldn’t be required for every science story from an outlet of their caliber. With politicians, considering the fact that they’re often expected to make law on scientific issues, we better well expect them to know science. And the fact that they often don’t is the reason that we have so many problems with issues like reproductive rights, stem-cell research, the teaching of evolution, etc. I absolutely refuse to vote for a creationist regardless of other positions, because this issue is just that important to me (and I also value critical thinking skills in my politicians, and I don’t think a belief in creationism speaks well to someone’s critical thinking skills).

  3. Good metaphorical Lord. That is fucked up.

    I especially like the creepy older male scientist in the beginning tipping his glasses down to gaze with approval on the young girls prancing before him. ICK.

    Yes girls–get in science now so you can be appreciated as objects, wouldn’t you like that? That’s what all girls dream of!

  4. Yeah, my first thought was: Great, they’re promoting science to girls. But then I saw the video after Elyse discussed it on Twitter …

    I mean, I still think it’s a great idea (the initiative), but this is not how we want science promoted to young girls. Is it a profession where you excel by making yourself look pretty to older men? Where you wear heels in a lab like you’re on House MD (all women on House walk around in heels if you hadn’t noticed)?

    I mean, I’m all for femininity, and it should be perfectly OK to be a feminine scientist. But that is not what being a woman in science is about. It’s not like it’s a super masculine environment either with muscle and sweat. It’s people of all types doing things they love. What needs to be communicated is how awesome it is to work with something you’re deeply interested in figuring out. There is nothing gendered about that. How you present your gender is of no importance one way or the other.

  5. Thank you so damned much for bringing this whole issue up.

    The biggest thing that has made me want to say “fuck engineering, I’m doing something else” has actually been the amount of times that ‘pink science’ has been shoved down my throat.

    Nothing quite like expressing interest in an engineering to a professional of the field and getting what essentially translates to “Well that’s HOLY SHIT YOU HAVE BOOBS, UM, HEY HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT OUR ‘YOU GO GIRLFRAND KAWAII SCIENCE GLITTER CONVENTION’ CAMP?!”

    I wish I was being more than slightly hyperbolic with that name. I’ve come across too many programs with names like “You go girl” “It’s a girl thing” and other girl-related stereotypical phrases. Do they not realize how entirely alienating that is to women and girls who don’t fit that rigid feminine binary? How insanely infantilizing that is?

    Or, for the record, how insulting it is when you bring up someone else’s gender without them even making mention of it. “Oh, you want to be in this electronics class? Well, that’s fine, we get some girls!” and “You’re interested in our tech school? Guess what, we have camps for girls!” are two of the more annoying examples I can recall.

    It makes it so damn clear that people see you by your gender first and by the actual person you are second, and that they feel that just by virtue of you having one of those silly ladybrains they need to remind you that they can help you cope with being a frail little wimminfolk.

    You know what really helps women get into science? Actually representing female scientists. Not “Hey look at this traditionally hot chick, she is an awesome supermodel and she even does that icky sciencey thing”, but “Here’s a person who has done amazing things due to being involved in science, and I don’t know, maybe you noticed that they just so happen to be female, and that’s awesome.”

    Because that’s how it should be. Scientist first, woman second. That’s how I’d want to be perceived anyways, with my female-ness being ignored unless it was legitimately relevant, seeing as it in no way defines me. I’d have to imagine I’m not the only one who feels that way.

    /long, slightly derailed rant

    1. “/long, slightly derailed rant”

      Not at all!

      There is also the misogynistic/anti-feminine idea that “pretty girls” can’t be smart and therefore can’t do science. Which is of course bullshit. I kind of feel that this is an attempt to battle that, and they’re completely overdoing it and falling flat on their face. Instead they enforce gender stereotyping by alienating all women who are not super-feminine – as if it was even possible to work at a lab in stilettos in the first place.

  6. I’m an astronomer too, and I wear plenty of lipstick, blush, bronzer and hairspray. I look more like the girls on the teaser video then the lady in the next video you posted. Does that make me less capable of doing science? No.

    I get where you’re going criticizing the campaign, but don’t you think you’re also doing a lot of stereotyping yourself?

    1. No, Fran. I think you are missing the point. I never said that makes one less capable at science. I’m an astronomer and I bellydance in my spare time. Can you get any girlier than that?

      Please, re-read the whole post and do not put words in my mouth.

    2. That really was not the point of this post….

      Read some comments below, particularly from SteveT and Veronica’s response to SteveT. That may clear things up a bit.

  7. Kate Follette posted a great response to the article on feminine STEM role models. In particular, she points out that in the study, “feminine” is equated with pink and fashion magazines while “gender-neutral” is equated with wearing black and glasses and an interest in reading. Kate argues that this study could mean very little for REAL feminine STEM role models… but of course, #sciencegirlthing plays directly to that stereotype.


    1. Why would we have a problem with her? Abby is fucking fantastic. She’s smart as hell, great at her job, hilarious, totally 100% unique, and doesn’t take crap from anyone. She is awesome. I also wouldn’t consider her character to be “pinkifying” Science.

      Also, while I’m sure that the astronomer you just shared with us is awesome and great at her job, I’m not sure the point of this post was a request for people to start sharing with us “beautiful women scientists”. Beauty has nothing to do with being a scientist.

      Perhaps if you had said, “Here is an example of a truly amazing female astronomer” I’d feel differently.

      1. But she’s sexually attractive, the pinnacle of a woman’s achievement! Don’t worry, smart doesn’t make you ugly, girls, so don’t fret. Men will still want to fuck you. Well, unless you were ugly to begin with. That’s a shame when that happens. Such a waste when a woman’s not hot.

        (Oh, and she’s probably smart or accomplished or something, too. But pretty!)

        1. It seems to me that whenever this subject comes up, several men have to share with us the female scientists they find beautiful. Because, clearly, when we are speaking out against objectifying women (in science or otherwise), that means we totally need to have men objectifying women in the comments.


      2. Good to see I’m not the only one here that finds Abby awesome. True, she sometimes embraces woo-woo, but she finds the right path in the end (so it seems).
        The actress that plays her also has an interesting back story.

        1. Yeah. I mean it’s a rather silly show, anyway, so I’m not that concerned about her woo-woo. Plus it gives her a bit of humanity, ya know?

          She’s a kick ass character, flaws and all. That and she’s hilarious. Best part of that entire show.

    2. “truly beautiful female astronomer”

      Why is beauty relevant to astronomy? It’s irrelevant. Good for her, but utterly irrelevant. Stop equating women’s professional worth with beauty. It’s that shit that’s half the problem.

      1. I wonder if he would be following her on Facebook or at all interested in her if he didn’t think she was beautiful. Something tells me, probably not. I bet the fact that she’s an astronomer is second to the fact that she’s a “beautiful” astronomer.

          1. Aw, thanks Nicole. I actually like Dave, but … sometimes he clearly misses the point. :P

      2. “Why is beauty relevant to astronomy? It’s irrelevant.”

        The beauty of the astronomer is irrelevent.

        But when it comes to the subject being studied, that’s another matter!
        Nebula, planets, moons, stars, supernova, galaxies…they all have beauty to them.

        I know, this isn’t what you meant. I just felt it had to be said.

        1. I totally thought the same thing. Look at all the GORGEOUS astronomy pictures that Phil Plait posts over on Bad Astronomy!

      1. Oh, man, I just checked out her Facebook (I didn’t before).

        What’s funny is it’s clear Dale never even looked at her “About” page:

        In brief, I’m just a communicator with a passion for astronomy and an astronomy enthusiast with a passion for communication.

        Clearly NOT an astronomer.

        That’s pretty terrible, Dale. It’s clear to me that you were far more interested in her beauty than absolutely anything else.

        And that’s not to knock this woman; I’m sure she’s great at her job. But she’s certainly not an astronomer.

  8. I agree the “pink” approach is totally cringe-worthy. Why not just show what kinds of fascinating projects women scientists work on, and concentrate on the women themselves explaining their work. It’s that personal passion and story-telling for discovery that fuels scientists, ALL scientists. And we need as many scientists as we can get.

  9. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen:

    “I work with women scientists. I know women scientists. Women scientists are friends of mine. And the 3 women in the teaser are NOT women scientists!”

    Although I am sure ultra-feminine scientists exist, I have never actually met one, and if someone came into my lab acting like the girls in the video, I would immediately look around for the hidden camera.

    Girls are not, as a rule, stupid. This is especially true for girls who have an interest and the ability to do science. They know when someone is trying to con them with some BS like is being done in the teaser. Why not just stick with real girls, doing real science, like in the photos Nicole included? All 3 of the girls in those photos are objectively beautiful, and all 3 are doing real science. Isn’t that what the teaser was supposedly trying to show? That you don’t have to lock your femininity up in a box in order to do science?

    If I showed that video to my likely-to-be-a-scientist daughter, she would make gagging noises!

    1. At our university we have a PhD student in nuclear physics who run a very pink blog about her research as well as fashion and “girly” stuff. And She’s very well known for this. That’s perfectly fine. She also go around to schools promoting physics for girls. But what she projects more than anything is love for her field of research. Which is what is relevant.

      1. Sorry if it looked like I was being dismissive of any women scientists who are indeed pink/ultra-feminine. That was not my intent at all. I am fine with however people want to present themselves. But that is far from my experience with working female scientists today. It is likely a generational thing, as it has become much more acceptable for people to express these other sides of themselves than in my generation (I’m 46) and older.

        I totally agree with the idea that it’s the passion for science that is key. My objection to the video is entirely in the fact that the obvious passion for science was completely missing from the girls. It could have easily been a commercial for a new line of cosmetics, based on “SCIENCE!!” I can’t imagine for a moment that it would attract any girls into science.

        1. OK, it was the “I have never actually met one”-comment that made me reply, but I wasn’t disagreeing with you.

          I too get the impression ultra-feminine scientists are rare, and there is a sense that being too feminine as a scientist makes others take you less seriously. Which is the misogynistic idea that femininity is inverse proportional to intelligence. That’s sort of why the woman I was referring to does what she does. To prove that stereotype wrong.

          1. Thanks for the clarification! I would agree that being seen as “overly” feminine would likely result in a female scientist being taken less seriously (by other scientists of both genders). Again this is probably as much generational as anything else. We all view as “normal” that with which we grew up. I am really looking forward to the day when such a female scientist as you described shows in the lab where I work and begins to shatter everyone’s preconceived notions about what a good scientist can look like. For a scientist, there are few things more valuable than having your hidden biases exposed and crushed! Helps clean out the inevitable cobwebs in the brain!

    2. I work with a lot of women at my lab. No matter how “conventionally attractive” (ugh) they may be, it’s A JOB. We wear comfortable, closed-toed shoes, clothes that fit and don’t leave a lot of exposed skin (safety, y’know), and not a lot of unnecessary makeup most days (or in my case none, unless it’s performance review time). There’s variation for sure, but anybody wearing skirts and high heels would be sent home to change for safety reasons.

  10. Wow. I’m really glad they didn’t hire unattractive girls for that video – I mean, it’s so important that the 14 year old children in the video are model-thin and perfect so it’s more relavant to science.

    I mean, really. Nail polish? WTF??

    Then again, it’s good to make young women realize that if you do science you’ll be in a spotless lab with blacklights and you won’t have to get your beautiful nails dirty. Nothing spoils a good soil pit study like dirt.

    On a serious note you guys are awesome for posting this. I plan to link to it on my blog. ALSO, if you want actual inspiration for your daughters, check out this link (I saw it on Ed Yong’s blog but it may have been posted here too).


      1. Mine too – did you see the Stereotypes section? They had young kids draw their impression of scientists before they visited a lab, then after. Quite an eye opener how their perceptions changed.

    1. I love that website! Even though they’ve never posted my submission, to my knowledge. I was delighted to see several other bellydancers featured there. :-)

      1. Oh funny, my Botanist friend from grad school was a belly dancer too. Alternate personality almost. I love to see people have “secret lives”, no matter what the other career / passion is.

        Why didn’t they post your submission? I thought they posted any scientist who sent in photos. Did you ask them?

          1. @Nicole true enough, I’m glad I didn’t submit mine then. Let us know if you get on there. On a side note, my kitty Ives made it onto Geokittehs!!

  11. Have they changed the video?
    If I click on the teaser I get a video about a female geneticist talking about her work at the university of Leuven in Belgium (for the beer lovers Anheuser-Busch InBev is headquartered in Leuven). The lipstick is still there though.

      1. Yes, on their website, they’ve changed it. The video I have embedded above has been changed to private on YouTube. I think they got the message. (Of course, other people are reposting the video as they downloaded it earlier if you do want to find it.)

        1. Found it!
          Unbelievable, in this day and age!
          If I hadn’t known the background of this clip I would have thought it was an ad for Revlon or Ma Ma Belle.
          The people responsible for commissioning this throwback to the Dark Ages should be fired on the spot.

          I like the un-official response! “In space no one can hear you scream when you wax your legs”

  12. I’m going to hold back on all of the design elements in this thing which make me rage – like the pink blackboard font nonsense for a start (seriously ugh in every way). Instead, all I have to say is this:

    Many of the most knowledgeable scientists I know, to whom I’ve gone for help and advice on many many occasions, just happen to be female. But that isn’t what defines them. None of them would refer to themselves as “a girl who does science”. They define themselves the same way any respectable scientist would – as astronomers or chemists or biologists or psychologists or whatever their specialty may be. Instead of strengthening these preposterous outdated gender divides, we should all be trying to dissolve them.

    Did they even research their target audience for this? Are they unaware of the internet? Sites like tumblr, to name a notable example, contain literally thousands of people (irrespective of gender) from teenagers upwards, who are aspiring to be scientists. They write about it in their profiles and fill their blogs with fantastic awe inspiring things (as well as endless endless Carl Sagan references).

    People need to be inspired not patronised. Fellow bloggers? I think we all know what we need to do here…

  13. Does anyone know of some better videos that attempt to do the same thing without being utterly revolting? (By do the same thing I mean interest young women in science.)

    1. Not off the top of my head, no. But I really do think that a montage of their other videos would have made a great intro video. Showing real women, a range of personalities and styles, is probably better for capturing many girls’ interests, rather than expecting them to identify with one overly-done type.

      But, I’d LOVE to see better videos if they exist!

  14. This one has some inspiring women in it. I shamefully admit I subconciously thought of climatologists as men and was surprised how many women were in the video. YES, they have cheerleaders but they also have men with their shirts off and men as sex objects in the video. Read: be warned, some may find it offensive.

    I find myself sometimes reading the editorial / letters section of the paper. Funny how many times I think, that guy said it well (and the author was a woman, or vice versa).

    Also I have a Twitter user name that I use to comment on science articles on Grist. It’s gender neutral and many people seem to think I’m a guy. VERY noticeable difference of how people react to me. It’s been quite enlightening.

    1. I let people think I was a man on the internet up until recently. I actively avoided anything that might ‘out’ me as a woman. It’s a huge difference in how and whether people hear what you’re saying.

      1. If I make my username neutral, most people seem to think I’m a man. Probably ‘cuz I say fuck a lot. :P

        1. I’ve never had anyone ask if I was a woman, but I’ve had more than one person accuse me of being a man in places where I have a F profile.

          IRL, I’ve also been told multiple times that I’m ‘like a man’ as a compliment. I would never tell a man he was ‘like a woman’ and think it was a compliment.

          1. “I’ve never had anyone ask if I was a woman, but I’ve had more than one person accuse me of being a man…”

            You mean you’re not really a goat?! :P

          2. It’s deep cover for the Caprine Conspiracy. Don’t tell anyone.

        2. Yea marilove, the fuck’s and all the beer talk; but that just makes me like you more!

  15. Here’s a repost of the video, for anyone who missed and Absolutely Must See it:
    This one has a “Remix this video” button – is anyone else tempted???

    I was watching the stats on the original video this afternoon, for a few minutes its “dislikes” exceeded the number of views! Obviously the likes and dislikes get updated faster than the views, which later jumped from around 2,000 to 20,000 or so.

  16. As an aside, what’s sad is that male and female scientists notoriously dress in creative ways to assert their individuality. I love my job. We wear cool shoes, funky socks, etc. I also admit I like using nice smelling hair product for MYSELF to feel good.

    Any man or woman of any size or shape should be free to dress casual OR to assert their personality. This ruins it because now guys will think that women who dress up for work are doing it to entertain the men.

    I hate that our society thinks that only thin people can look gorgeous or individual. I consider it a fun part of my day, to pick out nice stuff to wear. The job comes first, but I’m allowed to have fun, too. And I’m no damned model.

    1. I was having a parallel conversation about this video on Facebook with an engineer friend of mine…. she wears makeup and glitter and pretty dresses to work all the time, but doesn’t mind getting them dirty either because of her work. It has nothing to do with impressing nameless-guy-at-microscope like in the video, she just loves being herself. (Oh yeah, she’s a bellydancer, too.)

      1. Nicole yes I worry that people will suddenly think that dressing up is going to hurt their careers. I’m all for girly stuff. But it should be a choice. People should do it for themselves and most importantly to me, I think “obese” (whatever that means), geeky, less than perfect men and women should be made to feel just as gorgeous as everyone else. It should be about clothes that match your personality, not what is trendy in fashion.

  17. The original video is very sexist but they took it down and what is there now is just fine. The rest of the site has good positive profiles of women in science.

    I’m not really seeing the problem here. They responded to criticism and changed. Bravo for them. Sounds like a win to me. I’ll take even small steps in the right direction over ideological purity any day.

    1. But they removed the video without any kind of response, from what I can tell, unless you see something I don’t.

      That makes it appear to me that they don’t have any idea what was wrong with it, and only removed the video because of pressure. That’s really, really problematic.

      They should have responded to the complaints, and addressed their audience to make it clear that they made a mistake, while outlining *why* this video is so problematic.

      Instead, they just removed the video, without any kind of response at all. They are trying to brush it under the rug as if it never happened. That is not okay.

      Streisand Effect, people. Once it’s on the internet, you cannot take it back. You need to address the problem, not ignore it.

      1. “But they removed the video without any kind of response”

        I don’t know that since it is an EU website and the audio is not in English. You could e-mail them and find out, their contact info is right there.

        “only removed the video because of pressure” and “They should have responded to the complaints”

        I don’t care why people do things that I approve of. Only that they do. I see no point in demanding people think like me. That is why I am ok with my friends who are evangelical Christians or Wiccans. I don’t care what people believe as long as they are more or less decent people.

        There is a guy in my building who is a devout Catholic and believes that abortion is immoral. I get along with him just fine. Another woman in my building is very a conservative Christian. We are just fine. I just don’t go there. I don’t see the point.

        Most people are decent people most of the time.

        I wouldn’t worry too much about the EU’s ability to motivate young woman to get into science. I’d worry more about this:

        The Shocking Content of Publicly Paid for Christian School Textbooks

        (Let’s see if that works.)

        1. Why should I have to e-mail them? They should have responded to the HUNDREDS of complaints publicly. I shouldn’t have to e-mail them. It’s quite likely that a lot of young women have already seen this video. That NEEDS to be addressed.

          I don’t care why people do things that I approve of. Only that they do. I see no point in demanding people think like me. That is why I am ok with my friends who are evangelical Christians or Wiccans. I don’t care what people believe as long as they are more or less decent people.

          This doesn’t even make any sense as a comparison. You’re comparing apples and oranges. Actually, you’re comparing apples and tires. This is an organization trying to promote women in science, and they made a mistake which they need to address, not ignore. This isn’t your friend.

          Also, if my friend made a mistake, you better well believe that I’d expect them to apologize to me! And address why the mistake was a mistake! Seriously, this comparison is ridiculous. This has nothing to do with how this company BELIEVES; this has to do with what this company HAS DONE. This is not the same thing.

          Seriously, do you know how words work? I am getting the distinct impression that you just like to hear yourself talk.

          I have no fucking idea how you can take issue with ANYTHING that was posted here. And yet, here you are. Trying to pick a fight. And making no sense while you’re at it.

          Most people are decent people most of the time.

          Again, this isn’t your neighbor or your friend. IT IS AN ORGANIZATION. Not the same thing at all.

          I wouldn’t worry too much about the EU’s ability to motivate young woman to get into science. I’d worry more about this:

          There is enough room in this world to be concerned with more than one thing, you know. “THere are more important things to worry about!” is yet another logical fallacy.

          Do you have a list of logical fallacies at your desks which you are going through one-by-one? Are you a troll? Or are you really this damn clueless?

          1. “Why should I have to e-mail them?” — I don’t know. I thought you wanted to know their response?

            “they made a mistake which they need to address, not ignore.” — They did. They replaced it with a better one.

            “Also, if my friend made a mistake, you better well believe that I’d expect them to apologize to me!” — Why does the European Commission need to apologize to you? Where in Europe do you live?

            “I have no fucking idea how you can take issue with ANYTHING that was posted here.” — I haven’t. Nor have I tried to pick any fights on this. It seems to me that this got worked out ok. The site looks good and they removed the video people complained about.

            ““THere are more important things to worry about!” is yet another logical fallacy.” — Actually it isn’t, it is just my opinion. They responded good enough for me. You are free to believe otherwise of course.

          1. And it was addressed TODAY!

            I am now 100% positive the ONLY reason she is here is to argue. She is a troll.

        2. Also, it’s interesting to me that you * completely* ignored punchdrunk’s point that this post was made before the video was taken down.

          This is why I don’t think you’re being at all sincere. This is why I think you’re only here to argue, and not discuss or even debate. This is why I AND EVERYONE ELSE does not believe you are arguing in good faith.

          You are just so damn set on finding stuff to lecture us about, that you didn’t even take the time to read the comments. If you had, you would have seen that this video was taken down well into our discussion, and without any kind of peep from the organization.

          But hey, maybe you did read the comments and missed it. I don’t believe that for one second, not with you, but it happens.

          In that case, you should have responded to punchdrunk pointing out to you that the video was removed after this post was made.

          But you didn’t. You completely ignored her. And I know you saw her comment, because you replied to mine.

          So, instead of saying, “Woops! My bad! I did not realize that!” you instead continued to argue — and the argument didn’t even many any sense! And the funny thing is, you actually acknowledged that the original video was “very sexist” — and yet, somehow, you find something to fucking argue about, even though we all agree that the video is sexist, and this discussion began before the video was taken down.

          Yet here you are, still arguing. Because clearly you like to see your name and your words on the screen, but give no fucks about actual content.

          And your arguments! I read them and I just could not stop shaking my head in complete disbelief because it made absolutely no sense.

          Either you’re a troll, or you’re just really this clueless. Neither option is a very good one, is it?

          1. And let me add — the fact that you tossed out the “But there are more important things to worry about!” is just yet another example of you not arguing in good faith. Especially considering that link you posted was already posted on this site today.

            You are on a mission. You’re mission is to nit-pick every single fucking thing, just so you can find something stupid to argue about. Or lecture us about. Or to bring home just how terrible you think we are.

            CLEARLY you think very, very little of us. You couldn’t even respect Masala’s request to stay positive in one post! You *had* to bring your finger-wagging there, too — and then you acted all innocent, like you did nothing wrong.

            WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE if you dislike us so damn much?

          2. “This is why I don’t think you’re being at all sincere.”

            I assure you I am. I didn’t lecture anyone. I merely gave my opinion which differs from yours it seems. I’m ok with that.

            I was already aware that the original video that rightly caused some concerns had been removed because I watched it thanks to BenBradley’s link.

            I have not seen punchdrunk upset that I have not given her enough attention. Her feathers seem remarkably unruffled.

            “yet, somehow, you find something to fucking argue about,” — I don’t think I was arguing. I think I said what I felt. Which is that the issue seemed resolved. Good enough for me anyway. If what I say don’t make sense to you you’re free to ask me what I mean and I’d gladly try to help you. I don’t see the problem though because I think I am and have always been very clear. It doesn’t seem to me like there is much to get worked up about at least as far as this one web site goes.

            “You are on a mission. You’re mission is to nit-pick every single fucking thing, just so you can find something stupid to argue about.”

            I was pretty oppositional earlier but I was not trying to be here. I just voiced my opinion.

            “CLEARLY you think very, very little of us.”

            Oh not so. I think very little of the sexist jerks that Rebbecca encountered and those who defend them. Which appears to be a large percentage of today’s atheist/skeptic community, perhaps a majority. That isn’t good.

            “WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE” — I’m a skeptic and agnostic though not an atheist. I listen to Brian Dunning’s podcast and the SGU podcast (among others, the Best of the Left is great!) and enjoy them very much. But I very strongly disagree on certain issues and you may have noticed I don’t back down.

          3. . I think very little of the sexist jerks that Rebbecca encountered and those who defend them.

            I hate to break it to you but this is essentially Rebecca’s blog.. She runs this place. It is hers.

            REBECCA is sexist?

            You are, indeed, a piece of fucking work.

          4. I read that wrong. Apologies.

            You’re still a piece of fucking work and 100% not sincere or arguing in good faith. Period.

          5. “Please don’t read into what I say.”

            Are you fucking kidding me?! You can’t even say “apologies accepted” without leaving some insane, condescending comment, can you?

            I didn’t “read into” anythign you said — I MIS-READ what you said. Which I told you in the comment you replied to. How about you stop twisting my words around which you do every time you cement?

            You’re such a troll. If it’s unintentional, then that’s just SAD.

            Brenda, when every single person thinks something is wrong with you, perhaps you need to consider that it’s not us, but you that has the problem.

  18. The first video had a “WTF” feeling for me.
    It seemed more like an ad for some sort of fashion or something. Little to do with science.

    They could’ve done far better by showing real scientists doing their jobs.

    I personally prefer this phrase:
    “Science: It’s the human thing to do”

    I say that, because from the news, it seems we ALL are faultering at science, in favor of fundimentlism, dogma, and woo-woo.

    A question; what device is that in the third photo?
    I can’t tell if it’s a telescope or something else.

  19. Ah! missed the comment earlier from Veronica that stated that after taking down the video, they created this:


    Which is … meh. Is that it? Really? Not impressed.

    When an organization (or a person!) makes a mistake, it should be addressed, not swept under the rug as if it never happened.

    And if you can argue even about THAT Brenda, I just fucking give up on you, seriously. I am convinced you’ll find something to argue about no matter how polite or even positive we are (like Masala’s post). It’s never going to be good enough for you. Do you complain this much in real life?! Ugh.

    1. “Which is … meh. Is that it? Really? Not impressed.”

      It’s an acknowledgement at least … and pretty late on a Friday night in Europe too, so I’ll give them a little more time :)

      Hope they do more than this. Still, I’ll repeat that I think in principle, the project is a good idea.

  20. @brenda
    “I have not seen punchdrunk upset that I have not given her enough attention. Her feathers seem remarkably unruffled.”

    You’re a piece of work.

    1. Yeah, that was golden.

      Ugh. I give up.

      Honestly, Brenda? You’re just … not that bright. Clearly.

        1. Brenda, I think the reason it was important for them to make a statement was to take advantage of the now very public mistake. On our nature walks we call this a “teachable moment”. Bad things happen. Sometimes they are just bad, but other times it’s a chance to teach people. The video makers have missed a huge opportunity to start a discussion about women in science. Americans love an apology. Because these days, everyone’s too busy trying to cover their asses and be squeaky-clean. If they had retracted the video, and made a statement, it would have been clear to everyone they just didn’t think it through. People woiuld have been understanding, because every one of us has made that mistake at least once.

          1. Ok, I can appreciate that. I’m just very pragmatic. So if I want someone to vote for Obama I don’t care at all why they do, only that they do.

            I am not convinced that the European Commission didn’t issue a retraction of some kind. Maybe they did only no one saw it because most people here are in the US. Maybe they don’t feel they need to apologize to non Europeans. Wouldn’t asking them for a response be the logical next step for any journalist?

            Still, for me, as long as the issue is resolved, and the video *was* unacceptable, then I’m ok with leaving it at that.

            I’m not a joiner.

          2. @Brenda – you wrote, “I’m just very pragmatic. So if I want someone to vote for Obama I don’t care at all why they do, only that they do.” I don’t know that this is pragmatic so much as apathetic, or at the very least the path of least resistence.

            It *sounds like* you’re saying that you HOPE the changes you want will happen, and IF THEY DO, great! But you’re not interested in actually DOING anything to ensure those changes happen. So if you want someone to vote for Obama, you just hope that they will instead of actively trying to find out why they might not, and what will change their mind, then doing something to change their mind.

            Change doesn’t happen on hope, it requires activism.

            One last thing – if everyone is accusing you of being a troll and you’re not a troll, perhaps you need to look at what you’re posting and figure out WHY they think you’re a troll. If you can bring yourself to care about WHY in this instance.

          3. @ “I don’t know that this is pragmatic so much as apathetic, or at the very least the path of least resistence.”

            I prefer results over ideology which is what it means to be pragmatic. When one is working for social change pursuing the path of greatest resistance is a guarantee of failure. When the activists of any movement for social change insist on ideological purity and purge those who do not come along that movement is in danger of being permanently marginalized.

            “It *sounds like* you’re saying that you HOPE the changes you want will happen, and IF THEY DO, great! But you’re not interested in actually DOING anything to ensure those changes happen.”

            Which changes? I want changes in policy, what goes on in people’s heads is none of my business. So changes in policy *are* success. So yes, I do not care about why someone votes for a candidate. At best I can only give them reasons for voting for mine but are those reasons actually why they check that box? I don’t know, they probably don’t know themselves and it doesn’t matter as long as the vote is cast.

            The same is true for feminist policies we want enacted. It doesn’t matter why those in power change their policies to ones we’d like. Only that they do. If they do it because they agree with the philosophy or because they see it as in their best financial interest is irrelevant.

            Corporations and politicians that are gay friendly are acting in their own self interest. It does not matter what their private beliefs are.

            “perhaps you need to look at what you’re posting and figure out WHY they think you’re a troll.”

            They call me a troll because I come in with a bad attitude and I make it clear that I do not approve of the direction that I see the atheist/skeptic movement going in or in the abusive and sexist behavior of what seems to me to be a majority.

            Internet forums, blogs and chat rooms breed or promote isolation, bigotry, aggression and a sense of entitlement. This seems to have spilled over into real life or at least to conventions. I watched the community’s reaction to Rebbecca’s complaints last year and now again. The abuse she was subjected to at the hands of the entire community, in addition to other incidents, has convinced me that the current atheist/skeptic community is sick. In my opinion it needs to die and be replaced by something better.

          4. They call me a troll because I come in with a bad attitude and I make it clear that I do not approve of the direction that I see the atheist/skeptic movement going in or in the abusive and sexist behavior of what seems to me to be a majority.

            If you’re not a troll, then you’re a huge hypocrite.

            It’s totally cool for you to be an asshole with a bad attitude. But we can’t be even a little angry at displays of awful sexism, including when leaders of the Sktpical community completely blow off complaints of sexism and harassment and call women liars.

            But you? You can be a total asshole and it’s TOTALLY OKAY! ‘Cuz you’re Brenda and apparently Brendas are super-special and don’t have to live by the rules they make for *everyone else*.


            Real nice.

          5. “But we can’t be even a little angry at displays of awful sexism”

            I have no problem with your opposition to the ramapnt sexism amoung atheists and skeptics. I do have a problem with the whole community because I think that sexism is there *because* there is no over riding philosophy that is against that. Indeed, the consensus seems to be that sexism is ok. Not here but on the whole.

            The reason why is because atheism is nihilistic. If you lack all belief then anything can fill that empty space. In fact, if it is true that atheism is *only* a lack of belief then you have no basis at all in rejecting sexist atheists. You might wish your humanism applied to everyone but the objectivists and other right-wing extremist atheists don’t agree.

            They will destroy you just like they destroyed the Dawkins forums and everything else they touch. I see no effort to expel or marginalize right wing extremist atheists and I take the failure to do so as tacit approval.

            The New Atheism is fatally flawed because one of it’s base beliefs is that all religion is evil. Such an extreme belief can only lead to failure and since there seems no will to change then the sooner it does the better.

            You charge of hypocrisy would make sense if I wanted to save the larger community or thought it could be saved. I don’t. It needs to fail and everyone needs to see *that* it has failed so they will make different choices in the future.

          6. Oh.

            Are you serious?

            That was … random and not at all related to anything I said. You didn’t respond to one fucking thing I said.

            Now you’ve started ranting against atheists?!

            First of all, once again, a Skeptical blog Atheism is indeed part of that, sometimes, but not always AND ATHEISM IS NOT OUR FOCUS, SKEPTICISM IS. Further more, this is a feminist blog with a Sketpical slant.

            Why do you want to paint us all with one, broad brush?

            You are a troll. Either that or a moron.

          7. *This is a Skeptical blog and sometimes Atheism is part of that…

            I accidentally a few words there.

  21. I think my main problem with it isn’t that the girls are pretty or fashionable (although clearly a diverse set of girls in dress and style would be better). It’s more that there’s no sense that these girls are actually doing science. It’s morel like a teen magazine fashion shoot with science-y props. To me it just reinforces the feeling that no matter what you do as a woman, you are really just there for decoration. That feeling has followed me all of my life but I have thank the sexist remark that made me consciously aware of it so I could finally put my finger on it. On the first day of my job as an attorney, after working long and hard to graduate with accomplishments, get a job, pass the bar, etc, another attorney came in to be introduced to me, took one look at me and said “Well, I can see why you hired her!” in one swoop all the accompilishments and hard work I was so proud of we’re swept away like they never happened. But I still have to thank him, because it was that statement that me from a casual, “I’m not really a feminist” feminist into a full blown “hell yes I am a feminist” feminist.

    1. I’m so sorry you had that experience. That’s really sucky! And yes, the fact that it has little to do with science at all is probably the most frustrating aspect. It’s just marketing fail all around.

  22. You know Brenda … for someone who likes to lecture us about how mean we are, you sure are an asshole.

    1. You’re a hero, marilove! I suppose someone has to spell out to the Brendas and Bridgettes of the world exactly how they are not contributing anything useful to the discussion – not that they will get it, but other commenters will. Banning them after they’ve shown bad faith would be my instinct (if it were my blog), but then no one else would see what was so unhelpful about their comments.

      1. I need to stop replying to her but sometimes I suffer from “must have the last word syndrome” which always gets me into trouble.


    2. It’s actually really good trolling. Every post, out of context, is reasonable. If you read just part of the conversation you get the impression that at best she’s got a sincere point about an attitude expressed in some post you haven’t seen and at worst is merely mistaken about the points being raised by other posters. Without the full context, you guys look terrible! It’s like salami slicing trolling.

      I’ve never encountered this kind of trolling before, although I’ve seen it a lot here from different usernames. I wonder if it’s just one person or if that’s the only type of trolling capable of surviving the moderation here.

      1. Yep. Until you realize that even when specifically asked to keep things positive in a particular post, she has to work in a bunch of consdesndeing finger-wagging, and then she acts all innocent, “What? I was just being candid!” So if that’s *all you see* you may think we were being jerks to her, when in reality she is the biggest asshole.

        I really hope she’s a troll and not actually sincere. I just can’t believe someone can do this sort of trolling on accident.

        I also still think she and Bridgette are the same person, or if not, they know each other. Bridgette disappeared (was she banned? I don’t remember) and hey, look, we’re getting the same exact bullshit from Brenda. Convenient, don’t you think?

        1. “even when specifically asked to keep things positive in a particular post”

          And I apologized. I accepted yours, please accept mine.

          I am not multiple people. I am not disingenuous. My opinions are genuine and I defend them as best I can. But I don’t back off and I don’t always put a soft edge on them.

          Men attack me the worst. You’d think that’d count for something.

          1. Brenda – the harassment Rebecca experienced has little to do with atheists / skeptics. You say the community is sick. That’s not the problem. The problem is a community of men who feel threatened by women. This has been going on since the dawn of time.

            Male doctors feeling threatened by old wise women healers. Priests trying to persecute women as witches. In modern times, Feminists are ignorantly portrayed as hysterical (and simultaneously, a threat) by yes some atheists, also right wingers, MRAs, good old boy’s club CEOs, guys who run mountain bike clubs, you name it. It’s everywhere.

            This topic gets swept under the rug way too often. And you would be wise to help the cause. Start by understanding why education and enlightenment is far more powerful than forcing someone’s hand to simply do the right thing while retaining a sexist philosophy.

  23. This is what happens when you hand a very smart idea – let’s say, of promoting science among girls – to the not-so-smart marketing people for execution (pun intended). This is not to say that all people in marketing lack brains but the results scream ‘reduction/simplicity’ – after all they are talking to the simple minded, riiiight? (snigger).
    As usual, I would say such pinkifying says more about the people who use it, rather than of this actually being a girl thing.

  24. What is this music? I always hear it at burner events but without any lyrics I’ve never been able to figure out any artists or even the specific genre. I don’t bring my cell phone to those events so I’ve never been able to use any music identifying apps.

    I gotta learn to dance to it or I’ll just be dorkin’ up the playa.

      1. Also I think this is considered “glitchhop” though it has some dubstep influences. :)

        I know only a little about this shit but I thought I’d share hahahaha.

        1. I can’t tell you how helpful that is. I’m really shy and clumsy so it’s already kinda scary to dance in front of other people. Having the same music would go a long way to making the crowded parties feel more like my backyard. I do poi, so this will mean not hitting myself in the face so much. Thank you!

          1. Check out Bluetech! They are so chill, would make for a great Poi routine!

      2. For some reason most of the music at burner festivals is generic. It’s probably so they can blend it together so it sounds like one single song playing for 18 hours straight. Who wants their groove interrupted by songs constantly stopping and starting again?

        So I was coming home from one of those festivals. It was my first one, and I’d had a very nice weekend. I saw God earlier that day, to give you an idea as to what my headspace was. I wasn’t anywhere near sober and my sober friend that was driving put her mix CD on. I heard the best music I’d ever encountered and I said to her, who is this? She told me it was ICP. It was the intro and the first song off the album Riddle Box which could easily be a part of a much more clever, insightful and subversive body of work. I’ve never heard any of their other music and was thoroughly impressed for about two weeks until I bought one of their CDs.

        1. I just LOLed. Thank you for that! My high school sweetheart was big into ICP, so, I get it. (No judgements, he’s a totally good guy! He even knows a thing or two about magnets.)

          1. The great thing about the “Miracles” video is that the first half is completely consistent with the assumption that these people have an interest and passion for science. It wasn’t until the line about magnets that it became obvious that they were just being aggressively stupid.

            For me, watching that video was like if you were watching an episode of “Cosmos” and you suddenly realized that Carl Sagan was a creationist that was trying to frighten and anger you with the complexity and nuance of science in an attempt to convince you to reject it in favor of ignorance and the only reason you didn’t realize it earlier was because he’s really bad at communicating things.

  25. In the teaser, it seems they are treating science like a product, and trying to sell it using typical marketing techniques – the same techniques that attempt to reduce the definition of “woman” down to some stereotyped and perhaps infantilized essence (“girl”) and then try to convince women/girls to conform to that stereotype. The fact that the “product” is science, which every girl/woman from elementary-school on knows is traditionally a male-dominated field, makes this a particularly confusing message. Are they saying you should be a sexy scientist, or just that you should be a scientist, you glamour girl, you? Or maybe you will naturally become sexy if you do science? Is hydrogen sexy? My guess is that there were some focus groups involved in this, and if science were a curler iron or eyeshadow, the ad might have succeeded. As science is a field of study rather than a product, I doubt that girls would or should be convinced by such a message.

    Science isn’t a “girl thing,” it is a people thing, an engaging and powerful thing. Science done properly transcends all superficial things and unites people of all different stripes in a common purpose: the pursuit of knowledge. This is why we can have both Prada-wearing scientists and flannel-shirt-wearing scientists, and while we may joke over drinks about our fellow scientists’ quirks and styles, when it comes to the business of doing science, what matters about you is what happens in the space between your ears.

    1. This idea of distilling the essence of what it means to be a girl down to cute/sexy, pink, and glittery was a huge problem for me with my first visit to the site. I have to admit that I haven’t been there for the updated version yet. A robust approach would give tie-ins to a lot of potential interests girls have, rather than assuming that they’re all interested in fashion and such as a primary goal. Even young kids (younger than this is aimed) tend to see such single-mindedness as a limiting box.

  26. I love science (STEM Student Representing!), and I love pink. But I am not liking this video. I kind of feel condescended to, if that makes sense. :P You know what got me into science? People communicating actual science, like sharing their research and stuff. :P

  27. The Girl Scouts offer a science merit badge for the science of makeup — seriously. My local women in chemistry chapter wanted its members to participate and was flabbergasted when I stated my reasons for declining. As a scientist and former Girl Scout, I am appalled. I’d include the GS link here, but their site is down at this writing.

    1. Is that *really* so terrible? I guess it would depend on how they presented it.

      A friend of mine is a chemist. She works with perfume. And makeup. She loves her job.

      1. I don’t see that as inherently problematic either. I think the Girl Scouts have a number of science badges, and the science of everyday objects can be really interesting to kids. And there is some fascinating chemistry in makeup.

        So assuming that girls are only interested in science if you include makeup is bad, but I think that you can talk about the science of makeup as part of a broader program.

        1. Makeup is pretty cool. I wonder how broad it is, though, because there are various different types of makeup — like stage makeup. It’s not just about Maybeline.

      2. I’m with you. I’d actually be interested in some of the science behind this, particularly perfumes. I’ve read about how the perfumes mix with different scents produced by the body, but it was all 3rd party and not scientific at all. But if there is something girl scouts are doing that could help understand this, then I think it does a good job helping bridge the gap between science and our everyday activities.

        I’ve also heard about the bad things that can happen when mixing different types of makeup. I’m not a makeup expert so I don’t know much about it. I think there’s a lot of science in this area though.

  28. I find this doubly frustrating as I am a nurse and I deal with people saying that my profession is “girly” on a daily basis. I got my degree because I am able to scientifically analyse, monitor and evaluate the human body, and yet most people think that I’m just there to look pretty and give sponge baths.
    It makes total sense to me that I would be equally interested in science and and baking, martial arts and reading, mechanics and pattern making.

  29. I agree that the looks of a scientists shouldn’t matter, but I hope I can still bring it up to make a point: I actually found the women in Nicole’s pictures more attractive than the girls in the video. I mean, they come across as real people, with real interests. In science, no less.

    So I guess objectification of women has the opposite effect on me. In any case, the video was fail all the way.

    1. OK, I know why I deliberated so long before making my point. My view of the attractiveness of these women is irrelevant.


      I mean, they are not targeting me. They are marketing toward young girls. Why don’t they just show women scientists doing cool and interesting stuff. Looks of these women? Not important.

      1. And in fact event if they WERE targeting me, it still wouldn’t be right. I mean, “Become a scientist! Hang out with hot women.” Or “Science, it’s no longer just a sausage fest.”

        Oh, I just regret posting that comment. I officially retract it.

        1. lol :)

          Sometimes you just gotta think things through! Been there.

          If you look at Dale Husband’s comment above, we make some comments along these lines. Glad you figured it out! Woo!

    1. She’s responding to a lot of strawmen. Yes, there are other videos that are not considered “offensive”. We’ve said as much here. While most people here think it harms the cause, we aren’t saying that the evidence is perfect or a more tailored study showing otherwise wouldn’t convince us.

      I do understand where she’s coming from. Given her former profession, I’d imagine this sort of conversation gets problematic and uncomfortable quickly. Some of us like makeup and high heels and making male scientists look up from their microscopes.

      Still though, she’s responding to criticisms that we haven’t made, criticisms that may not have been made by anyone. Of the thing she says, what do you agree with, and what of those criticisms apply to us here?

  30. I know I’m late to the game, but I did share this on facebook last Friday.

    Anyway, I just wish that math and science could just be supported by what they are. I mean, they’re beautiful things. But the suffer from a perception problem as people assume that when you say you’re a scientist that you’re a white coat wearing chemist who plays around with potions in a lab all day. And when you say you’re a mathematician, you’re assumed to be a guy wearing glasses, pocket protector, and the whole “look”. But if you ask most people (who aren’t scientists or mathematicians) what it is that we do, they don’t generally have a clue. I don’t know how many times I have to tell people that my job is not to sit and memorize formulas all day.

    But until we can bridge the gap between the perception of science/math and the beauty of these fields, we’re going to attract the same crowd and have a problem with diversifying.

  31. Can we have a DCOTW (dumbest comment of the week)? If so, I nominate Brenda for the whopper of a comment that contained this tidbit:

    “I do have a problem with the whole community because I think that sexism is there *because* there is no over riding philosophy that is against that. Indeed, the consensus seems to be that sexism is ok. Not here but on the whole.

    The reason why is because atheism is nihilistic. If you lack all belief then anything can fill that empty space. In fact, if it is true that atheism is *only* a lack of belief then you have no basis at all in rejecting sexist atheists. You might wish your humanism applied to everyone but the objectivists and other right-wing extremist atheists don’t agree.”

    Atheists rejects moral philosophy? Atheists can’t reject sexism because atheism=nihilism? There are no anti-sexist atheist communities *cough*pharyngula*cough*? What we need to solve our sexism problem is religion?

    *smacks forehead*

    1. I was dumfounded at that, as well.

      Sexism exists EVERYWHERE — not just within the atheist community. How does she explain the status-quo (“sexism is okay”) elsewhere?

      I imagine she really has no understanding of what “patriarchy” means.

      Sexism has nothing to do with atheism.

    2. Also, if she isn’t a troll, I think she might be a christian in hiding. Her anti-atheist rants help prove that.

    3. When she first showed up she claimed to be an agnostic, but the old definition of not knowing instead of the new and meaner definition of, you know, not knowing. But you have to wonder what moral phylosophy agnostics have beyond that of atheists.

      I think it pretty clear that Brenda is a Christian troll who has repeatedly asserted bullshit statments like the one you just quoted in an attempt to get someone to bite, then she uses all manner of fallacies to infuriate who she is pretending to dabte while staying calm herself to prove just how mean those atheists are. I fell for it and I’m sorry I did. I believe everyone has become bored with her machination and have stopped play along. She will either slink away or escalate, I’m hoping for the former, though the later might be amusing.

      But then what do I know, I’m just a bully who is bored with… er, scared of her.

      1. I agree, Xian troll.

        “The reason why is because atheism is nihilistic. If you lack all belief then anything can fill that empty space.”

        I’m guessing Brenda has a “reference book” that explains all about those (god shaped) theoretical empty spaces.

    4. Brenda doesn’t do research. In fact, she can’t be bothered even to check Wikipedia. If she did, she would know that nihilism is that idea that “life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value”. If you understand what the word objective means, this isn’t a particularly controversial viewpoint among atheists and agnostics.

      Life still has meaning, purpose, or value for us. It’s merely that this meaning is defined by humanity, not by magic spirits, Platonic ideals, or the laws of physics.

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