After a backlash of actual ladies of science, the European Commission took down a promotional video designed to encourage girls to study science. The promotion was intended to make science fashionable from a girl’s perspective, but its stereotypical depiction of women dancing on a catwalk, applying lipstick and giggling created an uproar on the Internet.
Biologist Joanne Manaster responded to the flopped video on Scientific American, saying, “How I carry and present myself is important as a teacher and communicator, but neither of those rely upon short skirts and heels.”
The original video is gone but, of course, it’s on YouTube.
The promotional website for Science, It’s a Girl Thing isn’t much better. The “i” in Science is a tube of lipstick.
As women in science and technology, this is exactly the kind of nonsense we’re trying to avoid. This was a thoughtless campaign that will surely see a full makeover, or face further negative reactions.
Attracting more young girls to study science isn’t best done by parading models wearing makeup, heels and fashionable outfits across the screen. Instead, the campaign’s creators might show women working in, well, science.