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Sexy Female Scientist Video Draws Fire

timothy posted about a year ago | from the marie-curie-or-mary-lou-jepson-or-danica-mckellar dept.

Education 404

sciencehabit writes "A new video released by the The European Commission — ostensibly aimed at getting girls interested in science — is drawing widespred condemnation from around the web for its depiction of female scientists as sexy models strutting into the frame in high heels and short skirts. A male scientist watching them from behind his microscope doesn't seem to mind that none of them are wearing safe lab attire—he just pops his glasses on for a better look. The rest of the video is a mish-mash of heels, nail polish, lipstick, and sexily smoldering Erlenmeyer flasks, arbitrarily punctuated by girly giggles." The Commission denies that the video (since pulled) was a parody, but they've certainly set the bar high for anyone who wanted to make an actual parody.

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Whats the problem (5, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#40422579)

Whats wrong with sexy female scientists - they have them in movies.

Re:Whats the problem (4, Informative)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#40422773)

Whats wrong with sexy female scientists - they have them in movies.

Or, applying the term "scientist" more liberally, on the Mythbusters - Kari Byron [wikipedia.org] - though technically, she's an artist. (Women, take your pick from the other hosts, I'm sticking with Kari.)

More seriously, I know a few women scientists and I can confirm that in many, many cases, the old adage "Beauty * Brains = Constant" is false. Personally, I think smart girls are sexy - end of story.

Re:Whats the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422969)

Personally I think sexy girls are smart - end of story.

Re:Whats the problem (3, Insightful)

tqk (413719) | about a year ago | (#40422987)

Whats wrong with sexy female scientists - they have them in movies.

My favourite person in the whole world is a female (computer) scientist, and it irks me no end that she has no interest in me of a sexual nature. Moan. Drat.

Personally, I think smart girls are sexy - end of story.

Personally, I think the only girls worth even considering are smart girls. You can have the rest. I won't miss the loss.

OBSTRef: Seven of Nine (assimilate me already, damnit!), Jeri Ryan! Drool.

Re:Whats the problem (4, Interesting)

Dekker3D (989692) | about a year ago | (#40423133)

I'd have to agree that Kari Byron both pulls off the "sexy" and "scientist" part better than these girls. And she's not even a scientist, nor trying (or at least this obviously) to be sexy.

Re:Whats the problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423139)

Amy Mainze from JPL, as a guest scientist on History Channel's "The Universe"

Gorgeous and Brilliant

Re:Whats the problem (3, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year ago | (#40422823)

The main issue is that this video is not an accurate depiction of lab work. It's an idiotic thing that would have been a great 80s music video.

Re:Whats the problem (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#40422947)

An accurate depiction of lab work wouldn't attract anybody, simply because no advert could ever be long enough to capture the true nature of a science (or in fact, any) job.

The problem is in trying to create a video at all. Ask female scientists why they got into science and create something that triggers those buttons in girls.
Most likely female scientists didn't become scientists because they wanted to look at pretty colors in glass tubes all day.

Re:Whats the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422999)

The music sucked ass.

Re:Whats the problem (1)

tqk (413719) | about a year ago | (#40423029)

The main issue is that this video is not an accurate depiction of lab work. It's an idiotic thing that would have been a great 80s music video.

It's a fricken PSA commercial, and a bad one at that. "Give us some glitz, then sprinkle some science on top, please."

Ick. I'm not sure I'd consider it sexist, but I do consider it bad.

Re:Whats the problem (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about a year ago | (#40423201)

The main issue is that this video is not an accurate depiction of lab work. It's an idiotic thing that would have been a great 80s music video.

But that video is an accurate depiction of the science of marketing. Sexist, misleading, uninformative, and attention grabbing (even if it is of the wrong reasons).

Re:Whats the problem (3)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year ago | (#40422873)

Whats wrong with sexy female scientists - they have them in movies.

Movies and real life are not necessarily the same thing, or remotely comparable.

I'm not certain how my oldest daughter will react to this, even if it's presented in a neutral way. Pointing this video out to her without giving away my own views will be difficult, as it's so appalling. We'll find out tomorrow, and I'm not sure whether she'll laugh or snarl at it. Either way, I'll get an ear-full afterwards. BTW, she wants to be an astronaut, and is getting top marks in maths, physics, English, French and Russian to smooth her way (her first language is Finnish), and had completed senior high math while in junior high.

Re:Whats the problem (1)

tqk (413719) | about a year ago | (#40423061)

I'm not certain how my oldest daughter will react to this, even if it's presented in a neutral way. Pointing this video out to her without giving away my own views will be difficult, as it's so appalling.

Don't. Tell her about Marie Curie instead.

It's not really all that appalling; just silly/stupid. It's not like you're watching Madonna or the Bieber, after all.

Re:Whats the problem (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year ago | (#40423319)

I'm not certain how my oldest daughter will react to this, even if it's presented in a neutral way. Pointing this video out to her without giving away my own views will be difficult, as it's so appalling.

Don't. Tell her about Marie Curie instead.

It's not really all that appalling; just silly/stupid. It's not like you're watching Madonna or the Bieber, after all.

Yep. She has heroines as well as heroes. She's well aware of Marie Curie, Maria Goeppert-Mayer, Ingrid Daubechies and many others [wikipedia.org]. The appalling thing is, this video was supposed to inspire females to become scientists, and was made on behalf of the European Commission. Now that really sucks.

Re:Whats the problem (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423021)

Feminists hate everything female and especially females that may be liked by men.

Token Black (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422581)

Have to represent all the different races don't we. I'm shocked they didn't include an asian and/or latina.

Re:Token Black (0, Troll)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#40422763)

It's the EU. Not big on immigrants. You're lucky to get even one minority.

Re:Token Black (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422927)

I seem to remember a youtube video of a black haired british girl screaming about how there were too many minorities in her country.

Finally! (5, Funny)

oakgrove (845019) | about a year ago | (#40422585)

A story where everybody reads the article!

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422791)

I didn't just read the story. I 3D printed it.
I'll... uhh... be right back. Loo break.

Umm (4, Insightful)

trifish (826353) | about a year ago | (#40422591)

I can imagine somebody was trying to address a number one concern of girls: It's not a sexy enough job! And I can't be sexy doing it, either.

Re:Umm (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#40422757)

And why would we want girls whose number one concern is that in science?

Re:Umm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422919)

don't you know that is how all girls are, they want to look pretty and be sexy else they are not real girls. Just like all guys should be big strong types with fancy hair that play football or in a pop band.

it is obvious that only guys in science is those who couldn't figure out how to play football, and the only girls are those who can't be pretty or sexy

why waste time on suck losers they would never make it on a reality show...

Well I was confused (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422605)

I'll be honest, until I saw the tagline at the end, I thought this was a makeup commercial.

Turnabout is fair play (1)

mfnickster (182520) | about a year ago | (#40422899)

Well, why not? The advertising industry has been using the trappings of science for decades to push their wares. Why shouldn't science do the same back to them?

Re:Well I was confused (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423039)

Yea, I thought it was trying to sell makeup to women in intellectual careers. Sort of a "you're smart, you can be hott too" thing.

This thing is stupid, they should replace it with an ad where successful female scientists talk about whatever they are passionate about.

How old is this? (-1, Troll)

steevven1 (1045978) | about a year ago | (#40422617)

This video is SO 80's/90's. Is this from 20 years ago, or is Europe just a land of America's past?

Re:How old is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422725)

It's retro therefore hipsters love it.

Re:How old is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422787)

Canada is the land of America's past, not Europe. That video looks like the Wyld Styllyns future-world.

Re:How old is this? (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | about a year ago | (#40422795)

Perhaps you're unaware that the modern American chic is 80s and 90s dominated. I was at the Protoman concert last night (with unexpected guest Tenacious D), and everybody was there wearing 80s style clothing. Including my wife, who has a PhD in Chemistry, and does theoretical chemistry research at Vanderbilt.

That said, while she was dressed up for the concert, she wears professional attire at work. In other words, science is a job like any other.

However, having heard her rant about things like this, she'll probably be more amused at the "piles of random glassware, all with large amounts of colored chemicals, putting out visible fumes". Ever notice there's never a hood or tiny desk in these kinds of presentations?

Only way to get the attention of young women (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422641)

As long as we raise them to value glamour, we'll need to show them how science can be glamorous instead of nerdy.

Any woman who doesn't mind that and is so inclined will become a scientist without any prodding. Indeed, you can't keep us away from it, same as the guys who are into it. They just don't have fashion holding them back.

Well I was confused (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422653)

I'll be honest, until I saw the tagline, I thought this was a makeup commercial.

Speaking as an objective male observer (2)

arcite (661011) | about a year ago | (#40422655)

I'm all for this. We need more sex in the workplace. A sexy work environment, is a productive work environment.

Re:Speaking as an objective male observer (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year ago | (#40422685)

A sexy work environment, is a productive work environment.

...if you work at an artificial insemination clinic or are otherwise in need of more male bodily fluids, that is.

Re:Speaking as an objective male observer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422701)

Well, the video was filmed at Pfizer, and look at the wonderful pills they've come up with.

Re:Speaking as an objective male observer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422779)

True. We'd all be better off if things were like Mad Men. And by all, I mean us guys. Not so much the women.

an MTV video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422657)

Ridiculous for taxpayer money to be spent on that. Hollywood, Mad Ave and their European counterparts know all about context shifting and will gladly take on this type of project with private funds.

Re:an MTV video (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422689)

I totally agree... they were obviously aiming for a dual-sponsored message.

Science: it's a girl thing
maybe she's born with it, maybe it's Maybelline

force a woman spend 8 hours on those heels (0)

emilper (826945) | about a year ago | (#40422715)

while doing lab work ... and very soon you get a "mad female scientist"

EU does not understand science ... after all, they funded the anti-GM clips with the "radioactive" sign instead of the "biohazard" sign on display.

Oh God (4, Insightful)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | about a year ago | (#40422745)

This video is awful on so many levels.

If you really want to close the gender gap, show girls the video of Ariel Waldman's talk at last year's OSCON. That..was awesome.

Re:Oh God (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423037)

http://arielwaldman.com/2011/07/29/oscon/

What a Dumb Ad (0)

orlanz (882574) | about a year ago | (#40422749)

Just adding my voice to those that are already here. Seriously, 80's look with random high school symbols of science splashed over a lipstick commercial. I don't think the creators know what science is, nor that women are nothing like the bimbos shown in the video (nothing personal against the actors).

Lets put it this way, the stereotypical women depicted in the video couldn't get past grade school math let along drop into science. The Ad ends with "It's a girl thing" but that is NOT what science is (for those close to high BP, it's not a guy thing either). Science is science, and the rest of the Ad is what society "appears" to want girls to be like. All the Ad did was support the negative later!

Please, depending on the age group you are targeting, pay some experts in the field to get your message across like: Disney, Vogue, Glamour, Victoria Secret, or even Target! Don't buy rejected lipstick Ads on the cheap and throw a guy & some beakers into it.

Why? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422765)

Why do people insist on closing the gender gap just for the sake of closing the gender gap? Is the goal to make more or better science come out of Europe? No, its just to have more female scientists, so that progressives can have a warm fuzzy feeling, but that will never happen, because someone who wants equality of result will never be satisfied.

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423141)

What have we learned from you? Never try.

Yeah, right. No thanks. We're not necessarily wanting for equality of result. Some more equality of opportunity? That's a definite improvement, but that's not even necessarily the goal.

Sometimes the goal is just as simple as not blindly supporting the unconscious discrimination that serves no real purpose but just exists because that's what stick-in-the-mud conservative nihilists insist is the natural way of things and must not be questioned.

We get it, you are strut around proclaiming your arrogant realism is the way of things, and everybody else should just shut up and a be cynical like you.

But since you're not persuadable, there's no point in discussing anything with you, so we'll just have to let you rant on your own.

Wasting time trying to change the mind of a stone isn't a productive use of time.

Original YouTube posting now made private? (5, Informative)

Wootery (1087023) | about a year ago | (#40422777)

Judging by the 'tweets', what seems to be the original [youtube.com] has been made 'private', i.e. taken-down. (I'm assuming that was the official YouTube posting - I can't find anything more official looking.)

As well as the mirror [sciencemag.org] linked in the summary, we have a Youtube mirror [youtube.com], and another non-Youtube mirror [telegraph.co.uk].

Why would they bother? Do they really not realise that if you release something high-profile on the web, it's out for good?

Re:Original YouTube posting now made private? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423043)

Do they really not realise that if you release something high-profile on the web, it's out for good?

"The European Commission". You're probably american if you're seriously asking this? They are bureaucrats, the web is something someone prints out for them to read.

Re:Original YouTube posting now made private? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423109)

I'm sure they realize it, but it's a way of saying "we don't stand behind this anymore".

Scientists! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422785)

I wasn't convinced that these girls were scientists until I saw the big H with HYDROGEN written underneath it. That's from the periodic table! That's science! Boy, I'm impressed with the get up and go attitude of the girls in this video. They aren't letting that stuck up man and his microscope dampen their drive to succeed! Who does he think he is anyway, all hunched over that scope, symbolically embodying patriarchy?! Where does he get off?

epic myopia (1)

Stem_Cell_Brad (1847248) | about a year ago | (#40422789)

Why would anyone want to recruit people who are easily influenced by superficial things into a profession where the superficial must to be ignored in order to gain new knowledge? Where the makers of the film hoping that people suddenly change their personalities when presented by the wonders of science?

I don't know about American labs... (5, Funny)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about a year ago | (#40422793)

I don't know about American labs, but this is how we roll in Europe. Especially, Biology labs...

First of all (5, Interesting)

mapkinase (958129) | about a year ago | (#40422821)

Why does anybody want to advertise this way?

Does science career needs THIS type or any type of advertising?

People who go to science and people who science need to go into science, have completely different channels of getting into science, being highborn for example (science is one of the most hereditary professions in the world).

Science does not need extra people, science does not need advertising.

If science had a want in people, postdocs won't be living on meager 50K a year salary, grown 35 old men with beards and wives.

Why don't European commission advertise food serving industry, the situation seems quite deplorable there?

Re:First of all (2)

turgid (580780) | about a year ago | (#40422939)

I looked at the video, and I actually thought it was ironic, a clever satire on the current state of popular culture.

There is no way they were being serious. None.

Re:First of all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423147)

a meager 50K a year salary

You're out of touch.

Re:First of all (3, Insightful)

DirePickle (796986) | about a year ago | (#40423235)

50K a year is not a paltry sum, but it's a disappointing reward for ten years of higher education. The real problem, though, is that these are typically for one-two year appointments. Benefits are meager. There's no retirement plan. There's no room for advancement. In a year you will have to uproot your entire family to move somewhere else in the world.

Re:First of all (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | about a year ago | (#40423259)

They don't want more people in science, they specifically want more women. It's an effort to eliminate the embarrassing gender gap, a relative need, than to supply an absolute need.

You know you want to (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422829)

Next stop - stirring more male interest in the nursing profession by making an ad with fast cars in a hospital.

Whew. Thank goodness... (1)

irving47 (73147) | about a year ago | (#40422835)

I'm just glad that it was the Europeans that did this.
Imagine what a Japanese one would have looked like. Probably too weird to compute. I'm thinking exploding android head like in I, Mudd.

Re:Whew. Thank goodness... (2)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about a year ago | (#40423271)

Europeans can be just as bad...remember the performance art cake that was made in protest of female genital mutilation in Africa? You know, the one that screamed when you cut a piece? This is along those same lines.

Sexist? (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#40422843)

Why did no one complain that they used a sexy male model for a scientist too?

Re:Sexist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422897)

Why did no one complain that they used a sexy male model for a scientist too?

Too gay. Science isn't gay.

Wrong gender (2)

FrootLoops (1817694) | about a year ago | (#40423107)

Because he was hot. It's like they screwed up and made an ad appealing to men instead of women. They should have had a bunch of attractive male scientists strutting around a pretty but not-too-pretty female scientist.

Re:Sexist? (1, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about a year ago | (#40423245)

There's a difference between using photogenic actors and actually sexualizing a character. If the male scientist had been performing his work in a Chippendale outfit, people would be more likely to complain. Except, of course, that treating men as sex objects is so uncommon that if they did it, it would have to be some sort of parody.

Re:Sexist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423251)

Probably cause most of us didn't think him as sexy, just normal.

Right.. (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | about a year ago | (#40422849)

Because after we fill girls' head with garbage about needing to be tall and thin, needing to wear high heels and makeup and the rest of it; getting them to follow celebrities who do the above... THIS is a problem.

Baby steps.

I'm sure every single girl wants to look like an unattractive female scientist wearing a labcoat and geeky safety equipment and looking plain. Especially after the garbage everyone else is throwing into their head.

huh (1)

bs0d3 (2439278) | about a year ago | (#40422853)

that video i just watched just had 3 bimbos who werent sexy in the place of 3 sexy girls in miniskirts

This is nothing! (5, Funny)

rbh42 (2596333) | about a year ago | (#40422871)

Please take a look at how things work in Denmark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ8_81Qy9kg&feature=BFa&list=UU3B_-v8-6-_6Px0FwBcLTrw [youtube.com] Not at all related to the subject but also funny - and from just across the lawn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOzwpMs-5bM&feature=BFa&list=UU3B_-v8-6-_6Px0FwBcLTrw [youtube.com]

There are some REAL problems in the world. (2, Insightful)

morkalg (1406517) | about a year ago | (#40422925)

Not to sound like a hippy... but there are large portions of this planet where life is cheap, blood soaks the streets, children are forced into war AND people starve to death. How about we look at those real problems first before we get our panties in a bunch over something so trivial?

Re:There are some REAL problems in the world. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423003)

It was supposed to be funny, don't get your panties in a bunch.

Re:There are some REAL problems in the world. (3, Insightful)

hackula (2596247) | about a year ago | (#40423067)

We can walk and chew gum at the same time. This fallacy is a classic though, so maybe we can just call this argument "vintage".

Re:There are some REAL problems in the world. (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about a year ago | (#40423165)

That's exactly why we could use more women in positions of research and power. And for that, we need to stop treating them like shit among other things, and also stop casually dismissing low lifes like you excusing it with a bullshit bluff like that one. You are obsolete and overstayed your welcome, how's that for a response.

Re:There are some REAL problems in the world. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423207)

Shit should be treated like shit.

Re:There are some REAL problems in the world. (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about a year ago | (#40423255)

Exactly. That's why you little fuck post anonymously, don't you.

And then there is your mother. What a brave woman, what a risk she took, and look what it got her. Here's hoping you have siblings.

Re:There are some REAL problems in the world. (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about a year ago | (#40423257)

Empowering more women with more education will go a long way in solving many of the problems you described. This PSA is a direct strike against solving such woes.

Horrible (4, Funny)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | about a year ago | (#40422937)

What a horrible bunch of stereotypes and role models for young girls. Everyone know that to be smart you have to bug ugly or fat.

Just show them Abby in NCIS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422941)

Targeting the wrong market..... awesome as the video is

Where is this video? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40422997)

For Science.

I knew girls who loved science (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#40423035)

I was one of them. When I was 12 I wanted to get a PhD in astrophysics and work for NASA. It wasn't the lack of sexy in science that made me change majors in undergrad, it was calc based physics at 8AM my first semester of college, followed by honors calculus with theory at noon. Bad scheduling on the part of the university did far more to kill my interest in STEM than the lack of female mentoring. I'd probably have had my PhD in physics just in time for NASA to start shutting down if it wasn't for my inadequate alarm clock!

take it easy (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#40423083)

is drawing widespred condemnation from around the web for its depiction of female scientists as sexy models strutting into the frame in high heels and short skirts.

"Condemnation"? Isn't that a bit strong for what at most deserves a "that's silly"?

We have completely devalued outrage to the point where it has almost no meaning left at all.

So back in High School, the teacher asked us... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423087)

To each draw a scientist.

I think all but two or three people drew men, mostly in labcoats, often with beards. One person drew a non-lab coated marine biologist, another drew a woman in a lab coat.

I drew an alien. When asked about the Gender, whether it was male or female, I said it wasn't relevant.

Sexist and misandric to even make it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423099)

The fact that it ended up accidentally sexist towards woman was I guess an accident, but the entire idea that it's worthwhile spending money to attract a gender demographic to a certain kind of job is fucked up and sexist anyway. You want the best possible scientist, right? Not the best possible female scientist?

Hots For The Smarts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40423173)

Better video, from the guitar master Richard Thompson:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axa0_gh6NYk

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