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Education Science

Sexy Female Scientist Video Draws Fire 404

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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  • Well I was confused (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @03:29PM (#40422653)

    I'll be honest, until I saw the tagline, I thought this was a makeup commercial.

  • Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @03:46PM (#40422765)

    Why do people insist on closing the gender gap just for the sake of closing the gender gap? Is the goal to make more or better science come out of Europe? No, its just to have more female scientists, so that progressives can have a warm fuzzy feeling, but that will never happen, because someone who wants equality of result will never be satisfied.

  • First of all (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @03:56PM (#40422821) Homepage Journal

    Why does anybody want to advertise this way?

    Does science career needs THIS type or any type of advertising?

    People who go to science and people who science need to go into science, have completely different channels of getting into science, being highborn for example (science is one of the most hereditary professions in the world).

    Science does not need extra people, science does not need advertising.

    If science had a want in people, postdocs won't be living on meager 50K a year salary, grown 35 old men with beards and wives.

    Why don't European commission advertise food serving industry, the situation seems quite deplorable there?

  • Sexist? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @04:01PM (#40422843) Journal
    Why did no one complain that they used a sexy male model for a scientist too?
  • by ryanisflyboy ( 202507 ) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @04:35PM (#40423081) Homepage Journal

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3eZQHwGQE0&feature=g-u-u [youtube.com]

    I agree with Dr. Meghan Gray. She is spot on.

    For those not familiar with Brady (the interviewer and editor of the videos), don't take too much offense. He commonly takes an antagonistic view to help draw out a more in-depth response.

  • Re:Whats the problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dekker3D ( 989692 ) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @04:43PM (#40423133)

    I'd have to agree that Kari Byron both pulls off the "sexy" and "scientist" part better than these girls. And she's not even a scientist, nor trying (or at least this obviously) to be sexy.

  • Re:First of all (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @04:58PM (#40423247)

    Compared to tuition it takes to become a postdoc, it is.

  • Re:Sexist? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FrootLoops ( 1817694 ) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @05:18PM (#40423363)

    Science isn't gay.

    Actually, science is pretty gay, since science has lots of smart people and smart people tend to be gay.

    There is published evidence [cambridge.org] (sorry, paywall) of a moderately strong correlation between very high intelligence and homosexuality. That is, very smart people are significantly more likely to be gay than people of normal or even just somewhat high intelligence (the numbers I've seen are a factor of ~2-3). This "large tail" isn't enough to bring up the IQ of gay people as a full group since there aren't that many really smart people. The cause of this correlation is unclear (but also irrelevant to my point that science is pretty gay).

    Homosexuality has been associated with high intelligence for a long time apart from published research. I'm reminded of the movie Bedazzled where Brendan Frasier's character wishes to be smart and cultured ("isn't secular humanism yummy?") and the devil who grants the wish also makes him gay. I'm also reminded of Plato's Symposium, where he compared homosexuality to philosophy:

    "Homosexuality," Plato wrote, "is regarded as shameful by barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments just as philosophy is regarded as shameful by them, because it is apparently not in the interest of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or passionate love-all of which homosexuality is particularly apt to produce."

    (Translation taken from here [fordham.edu]. It should be noted that Plato's views changed over time.)

    Finally, my personal anecdotal evidence agrees with the conclusion that STEM people are far more likely to be gay than average. My college was highly competitive and had almost exclusively STEM majors. My dorm had a huge number of gay people, something like 1 in 5 compared to the national average of something like 1 in 20. I myself am a very intelligent gay mathematician.

  • Re:Whats the problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @05:46PM (#40423561)
    It's totally untrue. There's actually a small positive correlation between IQ and good looks. One hypothesis is both result from good genes. The other is that men attribute intelligence to pretty women. (See halo effect. We also imagine pretty women to be virtuous, witty and nice.)
  • Re:Whats the problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @06:44PM (#40423997) Journal

    Or, applying the term "scientist" more liberally, on the Mythbusters - Kari Byron [wikipedia.org] - though technically, she's an artist. (Women, take your pick from the other hosts, I'm sticking with Kari.)

    horrible example. She's a film student they hired because she's pretty and they needed a pretty face on the show. [wikipedia.org] BA in Film and Sculpture. Complete opposite of science. No science jobs, no science training, no interest in science, she's just a model.

    Jeri Ellsworth is a MUCH better example of a sexy female scientist. [wikipedia.org] She invented the Commodore 64 emulator within a joystick, a popular toy that sold well on QVC and at Walmart. And check out these sexy photos of her soldering a circuit board. [lifehacker.com]

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