Or maybe I'm not feminist enough?
I was talking to a friend last week about the idea that young girls are discouraged from doing science because they're literally afraid it will make them ugly.
In her mind, we should be practical. Mercenaries. Simply put, young girls are focused on being attractive. While we agree that the pressure on girls to be pretty and thin tends to lead to extremely unhealthy eating disorders, etc., it is nevertheless how many young girls' priorities are arranged. Even if the list goes 1. Pretty, 2. Smart, 3. Rich...
My friend was saying she thought that showing that women scientists are not all unattractive nobodies could be a good thing for helping to recruit more girls to be scientists.
Now, you all know what I think. I think NOBODY should be a scientist. I think we have TOO MANY scientists already. And not enough jobs.
But on the issue of whether images of attractive women scientists would help or hurt recruitment efforts, I said I don't know.
I said maybe it would help get everyone to realize that not all scientists are male uber-dorks who only wear graph-paper button-down shirts. Personally, I am tired of being laughed at when I meet new people. They ask what I do, and when I tell them, they think I'm kidding. It has happened so many times, I started wondering if I should have been a comedian.
So then I saw this blogpost today, and I don't get it. Isn't this something we've all talked about maybe doing ourselves?
Will this sort of Hot Scientist Babes webpage help? Maybe not. Will it hurt? I can't really see how it could make things much worse than they already are.
None of these women were depicted doing anything demeaning (except the first girl, and I suspect she's a model?).
Would I feel differently if I were listed there? Maybe. Especially if it were a bad headshot.
But right now, I just can't bring myself to care that much.
Meanwhile, the commenters at PhysioProf all agreed that it was egregiously offensive, but I'm not entirely sure why. Plenty of women complained about the Rock Stars of Science ad campaign because it was all men.
Isn't this sort of the same? We wanted to be included in that effort to make science look sexy then, so why not now?
After all, sex sells. Science.... doesn't.