Oh god, why?

Posted by mouthyb | Posted in | Posted on 4:33 PM

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Borrowed from Butterflies and Wheels.

I have been happy to see, as time goes on, the problem of gender stereotyping start gaining some headway in public conceptions of capability. It's a start, but one which needs a lot of development to gain acceptance in even a simple majority of the general population.

Sadly, some of the headway has come in the form of re-branding the same tired bullshit. I'd like to go ahead and suggest that making something pink is not the shortest route to make the thing inviting to girls. Pitching 'perfume,' 'lip balm' and 'mystic crystal' labs also do not make science inviting to girls by themselves; the only way they work is via exploiting the same stereotyping which argues that girls cannot actually do science which is not tightly limited to cosmetic or decorative purposes, two realms which are traditionally relegated to women and girls.

While the overt message is 'look, you can do science relevant to your interests,' the actual message adds the following 'even though your interests are, for the most part, not going to be a science which the rest of society takes seriously or considers 'real' science.'

Obviously, there's several things wrong with the tacked-on message. All of the problems can be attributed to sexism: the devaluation of women's interests as less serious or not real science, the attribution of women's interests to cosmetic or decorative concerns (because women are assumed to be cosmetic or decorative) and the assumption that girls and women can't tell the difference between what is considered a serious concern and what is considered a less serious concern.

All of this, of course, is tl;dr for I'm pretty offended by the whole thing: the science I'm interested in, whether decorative or not (and in my case, not), is not compensated for by painting or dyeing something pink and focusing it on what I'm supposed to like.

As a whole, this makes the problem of access worse, not better.

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