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Education Science

Sexy Female Scientist Video Draws Fire 404

Posted by timothy
from the marie-curie-or-mary-lou-jepson-or-danica-mckellar dept.
sciencehabit writes "A new video released by the The European Commission — ostensibly aimed at getting girls interested in science — is drawing widespred condemnation from around the web for its depiction of female scientists as sexy models strutting into the frame in high heels and short skirts. A male scientist watching them from behind his microscope doesn't seem to mind that none of them are wearing safe lab attire—he just pops his glasses on for a better look. The rest of the video is a mish-mash of heels, nail polish, lipstick, and sexily smoldering Erlenmeyer flasks, arbitrarily punctuated by girly giggles." The Commission denies that the video (since pulled) was a parody, but they've certainly set the bar high for anyone who wanted to make an actual parody.
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Sexy Female Scientist Video Draws Fire

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  • Umm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trifish (826353) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @03:25PM (#40422591)

    I can imagine somebody was trying to address a number one concern of girls: It's not a sexy enough job! And I can't be sexy doing it, either.

  • by intellitech (1912116) * on Saturday June 23, 2012 @03:28PM (#40422637)

    In the sense that people read Playboy magazine for the articles.

  • Oh God (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomai AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday June 23, 2012 @03:43PM (#40422745) Homepage
    This video is awful on so many levels.

    If you really want to close the gender gap, show girls the video of Ariel Waldman's talk at last year's OSCON. That..was awesome.

  • by Golddess (1361003) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @03:45PM (#40422759)
    Nothing. But seems like it'd do more to attract men to the field.
  • by masternerdguy (2468142) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @03:57PM (#40422823)
    The main issue is that this video is not an accurate depiction of lab work. It's an idiotic thing that would have been a great 80s music video.
  • by morkalg (1406517) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @04:14PM (#40422925)
    Not to sound like a hippy... but there are large portions of this planet where life is cheap, blood soaks the streets, children are forced into war AND people starve to death. How about we look at those real problems first before we get our panties in a bunch over something so trivial?
  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @04:19PM (#40422947) Homepage

    An accurate depiction of lab work wouldn't attract anybody, simply because no advert could ever be long enough to capture the true nature of a science (or in fact, any) job.

    The problem is in trying to create a video at all. Ask female scientists why they got into science and create something that triggers those buttons in girls.
    Most likely female scientists didn't become scientists because they wanted to look at pretty colors in glass tubes all day.

  • by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Saturday June 23, 2012 @04:22PM (#40422987)

    Whats wrong with sexy female scientists - they have them in movies.

    My favourite person in the whole world is a female (computer) scientist, and it irks me no end that she has no interest in me of a sexual nature. Moan. Drat.

    Personally, I think smart girls are sexy - end of story.

    Personally, I think the only girls worth even considering are smart girls. You can have the rest. I won't miss the loss.

    OBSTRef: Seven of Nine (assimilate me already, damnit!), Jeri Ryan! Drool.

  • by hackula (2596247) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @04:34PM (#40423067)
    We can walk and chew gum at the same time. This fallacy is a classic though, so maybe we can just call this argument "vintage".
  • Re:First of all (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DirePickle (796986) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @04:57PM (#40423235)
    50K a year is not a paltry sum, but it's a disappointing reward for ten years of higher education. The real problem, though, is that these are typically for one-two year appointments. Benefits are meager. There's no retirement plan. There's no room for advancement. In a year you will have to uproot your entire family to move somewhere else in the world.
  • Re:Sexist? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @04:57PM (#40423245)

    There's a difference between using photogenic actors and actually sexualizing a character. If the male scientist had been performing his work in a Chippendale outfit, people would be more likely to complain. Except, of course, that treating men as sex objects is so uncommon that if they did it, it would have to be some sort of parody.

  • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp&Gmail,com> on Saturday June 23, 2012 @06:06PM (#40423693) Homepage Journal

    The main issue is that this video is not an accurate depiction of lab work. It's an idiotic thing that would have been a great 80s music video.

    The idiotic thing is the continuing quest to get more women in science and engineering, etc. Why no drive to get more male elementary school teachers, nurses, and secretaries? It would be just as stupid. Just because a field becomes more open to women doesn't mean that women necessarily want to be part of that field. There are always exceptions, but generally, different genders are attracted to different work. And this is why these campaigns are both silly and useless, noting more than an attempt to re-engineer human nature, which isn't really malleable.

  • by EdIII (1114411) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @06:10PM (#40423719)

    Ick. I'm not sure I'd consider it sexist, but I do consider it bad.

    Ohhh, it's sexist.

    Using good looking models? Not so sexist. Using very well dressed good looking models? Well women scientists are still women. They can dress nice.

    Showing lab equipment, chemical equations, and elements interspersed with cosmetics in a flagrant advertising-douchy way as if that is the only way to keep the attention of women watching it, or to participate in science?

    Sexist. Most definitely.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @06:35PM (#40423925)

    While there may be some who would be content with closing the gender gap on general principle, for most of us the goal is not warm fuzzies, it really is more and better science. One of the problems we have is that since there are so few women in the sciences, it is very hard to attract new women, even if they have the aptitude. So, the woman who had the potential to be a brilliant bio-chemist goes off and gets a degree in French literature instead and we are down a brilliant bio-chemist. Will all of the women who are attracted by these kinds of efforts make significant scientific advancements? Of course not. Most of the men in the sciences won't either. However, if we can't attract new women to the sciences, we are, in essence, shutting out half of the population from whence these advances could come. This isn't the only reason to want to close the gender gap, but hopefully it will at least convince you that the efforts are not just some pointless progressive feel-good program.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:04PM (#40424139)

    Mainzer. But I guess you were so taken with imagining what her tits look like that you didn't notice what her name was.

    Question: why does it matter if she's gorgeous? Is she a better scientist for it? Is her work more notable as a result? She's a remarkably intelligent scientist in her own right, and that's far more important to her scientific credibility than her cup size.

    Pairing "gorgeous" with "brilliant" is sort of like saying, "He's a great programmer. And has a horse cock!" They're two characteristics that have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ONE ANOTHER, and drooling over a small handful of smart/pretty women only serves to underscore the sexist, borderline-misogynist, attitudes prevalent in the field.

    If you respect a woman's scientific work, there is no reason to bring her looks into it - it's irrelevant to the study of astronomy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:13PM (#40424203)

    Yeah, your'e right - nobody has even noticed a shortage of men in nursing, or tried to do anything about it [minoritynurse.com]!

    Gonna let you in on a little secret, friend: that attitude you just displayed? "Women aren't in these fields because they're simply NOT INTERESTED!" Yeah, that's called sexism.

    There is NO evidence to suggest that women can't (or don't want to) do math for biological reasons - i.e., as a result of their gender. In fact, it's been demonstrated that the purported "gender gap" in science and math performance is a myth. Your suggestion that lack of interest in science or math is somehow "inherent" to being a female is an extraordinary claim, and one for which you've offered no proof, much less extraordinary proof.

    But I agree with you: As long as there are sexists like you telling women to get back in the kitchen because math and science are just too hard for their poor widdle bwains, then yeah, these campaigns are silly and useless - because any intelligent woman will take one look at the line of bullshit you're trying to feed her, turn 180 degrees, and walk away.

  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:28PM (#40424337)

    We insist on closing it because there is no evidence to support the theory that biological differences make one gender or another better "suited" to certain roles.

    We insist on closing it because there is a constant drumbeat of warnings about how we don't have enough people earning qualifications for STEM careers in college graduating, and we're going to have massive shortfalls - yet somewhere approaching 50% of the population (depending on the field - some fields have higher participation rates than others, to be fair) simply isn't considering the idea of a STEM career.

    We insist because there simply is no gender gap in performance measurements that is NOT eliminated by equal access and participation in math and science programs - yet there is clearly something social or psychological causing perfectly capable women to focus on other careers instead.

    Maybe you should think about the biases your own post betrays, and consider whether or not maybe you're part of the problem, and the reason you think it's dumb is because you're going to have to rethink your attitudes and learn how to behave like a decent human being towards women in your workplace?

  • by VAElynx (2001046) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:54PM (#40424959)

    But I agree with you: As long as there are sexists like you telling women to get back in the kitchen because math and science are just too hard for their poor widdle bwains, then yeah, these campaigns are silly and useless - because any intelligent woman will take one look at the line of bullshit you're trying to feed her, turn 180 degrees, and walk away.

    What wonderful strawman you are trying there.
    What he's arguing for isn't barring women from entering such professions, but that there's no need for specific recruitment. We don't need more female scientists, we need more good scientists regardless of gender. And I don't think that'll be achieved by asinine videos like this one.

    As for your extraordinary evidence, it's right there. They aren't choosing it, hence, they probably don't want to - same as a person who doesn't buy a hamburger doesn't want one.

  • by fightinfilipino (1449273) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:02PM (#40425427) Homepage
    how is the above post flamebait? it's the truth: sexism pervades scientific fields, just as it does nursing and teaching. these fields are societally seen as acceptable only for specific genders. we should be hiring based on whoever is best for the job. that's not what's happening in real life. in real life, society constantly tells us that women are not accepted in science, and that men are not accepted in nursing or teaching.
  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Sunday June 24, 2012 @12:17AM (#40426229) Journal
    I'm taking night classes while I get my master's in Internet programming, and doing a lot better. People doing well at 8AM classes doesn't show serious commitment so much as it shows people whose circadian clocks function on what is accepted as the "proper" schedule. Now that I'm not a stupid freshman, I can get up at 7AM pretty regularly, but it was almost impossible for me when I was 18. (That was also due to iron deficiency anemia, but it took another 8 months for me to be diagnosed with that when I finally went to the doctor about not being able to get up, even with the alarm.)

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