Sexy Scientists? Why? (science is already hot)
March 1, 2011
Why is there this fervor for / sexy female scientists? / They are so proud to declare that they can be both intelligent and beautiful. Be honest: how many women – or men, for that matter – can truly be described as hot? Selling girls on science by telling them they can be both is destructive. Not just because it creates a confusion, but because it recreates a myth from the 70s that women are still struggling against.
There was a / horrible commercial / from that era, where a sophisticated, beautiful woman was singing the glories of her high-powered job, doing the shopping, then coming home to cook dinner, and still being a doting sex object for her man. This is a glaring example of a mindset that has had generations of girls thinking this was what they had to do. / The superwoman myth. / And here. / No one can. The closest you can get is if you truly are so well-employed that you can hire a nanny, a cook, and a housekeeper. But for those of us in reality, it’s an impossible standard that we were being held to and failing. Men are not held to this sort of standard. All we ask of them is that they / pitch in / with the housework, and even there, / studies show / most do very little. And studies show that in two income families, women are still the ones / getting up with the kids at night. / Think a minute here – we all know how lousy we feel after an interrupted sleep. What sort of work can those women accomplish next day? And you can be sure that poor work is reflected in their job evaluations.
And now female scientists are trying to recreate this still-not-dead impossible myth for their colleagues, and future colleagues. You might be beautiful. You might be smart. But you cannot foster an impression that you *must* be both. And that is what impressionable young girls will take from that. So, again, a generation or three struggling to fulfill an impossible standard. / This blog post / talks of the pervasive gender bias that even women fall into – it’s the prevailing attitude. Still.
The only way that women can enjoy the same freedom men have to be attractive or not, smart or not, is for there to be enough women in all levels of employment that they are seen as normal, / not token /. And that takes time. It also takes men working for that goal by actively supporting women. A wonderful blog about / being the guy / who speaks up for women. If they speak up for themselves they’re labelled bitches. Again – women do not have the same freedoms of speech, intelligence or appearance that men have – yet.
It is getting better. But it takes time, not new impossible standards.
Hey, girls – you can be who you are! you can be what you want! And you don’t have to be beautiful to be a scientist! Way cool idea!