The European Union recently released a video that encourages girls to pursue careers in science. You know, the type of inspirational video that challenges gender stereotypes and depicts strong female role models excelling at non-traditional occupations.
Enter three leggy, mini-skirted, high-heeled women. They strut into a lab and strike come hither poses as a male scientist slides his glasses off and gives them a wondering ogle. Wow! Girls in the lab! What are they doing here? (It’s almost a surprise when a soft-core porn scene doesn’t immediately follow.)
But apparently they’ve just come to shake their asses, wiggle around seductively and giggle. Because, in the immortal words of Hilary Duff, that’s what girls do. Thank god the EU has shown girls everywhere that they can still reinforce the patriarchy in the science lab.
The video continues with shots of science equipment spliced with things that all girls can relate to; you know, things like lipstick, blush and nail polish. Now the simpleminded fairer sex can finally understand that science is FUN, because…makeup is fun?
On every level, this video is mind-bendingly sexist. Contrary to its message, it does nothing but reinforce gender stereotypes—and in the most patronizing way possible. I really doubt that ditzy, clubwear clad models blowing kisses to Erlenmeyer flasks will set the greatest example for young girls with an interest in science.
Is the EU saying that this is what girls should aspire to? That their career can and should be superceded by makeup, high heels and martinis? That girls can be scientists, just as long as they don’t forget their societal obligation to look pretty and act dumb? The whole thing is so appallingly backwards that it’s almost funny. Almost.