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back to article Are you a hot BABE in heels and a short skirt? SCIENCE is for YOU

The EU have clearly acknowledged that there is a problem with getting women into areas like science and technology. Issues such as educational bias, the lack of role-models and certain sorts of institutional sexism have all been cited as problems in the past, and at national level the topic has been discussed at conferences such …

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Devil

Bet they fall back on the smarmy bollix of "no such thing as bad publicity"

Like most every ad exec justifies their spunking:

* if the ad is liked then it's a success because it built positive associations, got people talking

* if it's hated then it's a success because it lodged in your mind only to later steathily emerge to influence your subconcious. Oh, and got people talking

* and if it left the public 100% "meh" then it's a success because it increases the general pervasive ambience of the brand and so will reap later rewards

Such people are so ensconced in this that the only hope of getting them to rethink is a B.R.C. application:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naGOZoHxA-I&feature=related

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bet they fall back on the smarmy bollix of "no such thing as bad publicity"

I'm not sure about your third bullet point but advertisers do follow the Wilde law ("The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about at all"). They do it because it works, if you want that to change you'll somehow have to get the entire population to start responding differently to advertising.

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Anonymous Coward

Wearing glasses

I know they are wearing safety glasses but it still portrays women that are only intelligent if wearing glasses. Sexist in the extreme. They're not even stylish safety specs at that.

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Paris Hilton

@Oh4FS

Can't tell if that's sarcasm, but if not, a brilliant example of irony overload with the misspelling of "brane"

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Meh

Re: Bet they fall back on the smarmy bollix of "no such thing as bad publicity"

That is not originally a Wilde comment. Double check your sources.

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Re: Wearing glasses

I think you have your stereotypes confused, it isn't that women can only be intelligent if they are wearing spectacles. The stereotype is that (otherwise) attractive people can only intelligent if wearing spectacles. Infact, the general rules are "attractive != intelligent", "spectacles != attractive" therefore "spectacles ~= intelligent" sex/gender doesn't come into it - other than that most women portrayed by the media are attractive.

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Devil

Re: Bet they fall back on the smarmy bollix of "no such thing as bad publicity"

You forgot my favorite:

By making an ad that provoked such a reaction, they got more free publicity for the ad because of how many news stations/blogs ran the vid, thus extending the value of your advertising dollar.

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jai
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"expecting bunsen burners to be like lipstick"

You'll be more than disappointed, you'll be horribly scarred for life from the 1st degree burns to your face!!

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Re: "expecting bunsen burners to be like lipstick"

I expect you meant 3rd degree burns, but yes, the image is horrifying.

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Re: "expecting bunsen burners to be like lipstick"

Third-degree or worse, I think you'll find; it'd be hard to be "scarred for life" by a first-degree burn, which basically just means your skin's a little red.

(FYI: There are actually six degrees on the burn staging scale; degrees four through six aren't often mentioned because they aren't often survivable, describing as they do burns which destroy tissue beyond the full skin thickness (epidermis, dermis, underlying fascia) described by "third-degree".)

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I was waiting for them to take their clothes off ......

.... to investigate the action and relative effectiveness of different laundry powders; under controlled conditions with proper recording of results and cross checking by an independent peers.

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The hard sell

I doubt that kids from any time in the past 20 years, brought up on a diet of MTV and more extreme, would be the slightest bit affected by this video. The "problem" only occurs because older people think (wrongly) that this will influence them. It's the same sort of patronising, or merely ignorant, attitude that some people have towards smut: "It doesn't affect ME, but I'm concerned about the effect it will have on others"

If the EU wants to get girls interested in science, they should get Adele to write a song about how sad it makes her feel. Or better yet, stop presenting science on TV (in fiction and in fact) as nerdy, geeky and only appropriate for social misfits

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Re: The hard sell

People who are nerdy and geeky tend to be a social misfit as a result (less interested in social interaction). They also tend to be more inclined to study more, and get more excited by the wonderful world of science. I'd rather people that spent their time studying in science than people who were fooled into it because it looked cool.

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Trollface

Re: The hard sell

No need to pay for the Premium Package on the Taxpayers account.

Just get Adele to write a song.

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Re: The hard sell

Science *is* cool. The best thing you can do to encourage women (and men) into the profession is to lose this weird American cultural export of the "geek" or the "nerd". You don't get a social stigma attached to being a Doctor or an Architect. No-one says: "Oh, you're a dentist, you must like Star Wars". It's got nothing to do with, for example, C programming, but in the US media, that translates into "geek". Drop the stupid association. It puts people off. All that matters is whether you're interested in the subject and if you're good at it. Social factors should be minimised to allow people to chose it without acquiring other baggage.

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Re: The hard sell

I doubt that kids from any time in the past 20 years, brought up on a diet of MTV and more extreme, would be the slightest bit affected by this video.

Indeed, advertising agencies first convince the client and if they manage that then they've made the only sale that matters to them.

There are so many wrong assumptions going on. For example, why do they insist that there are no role models? There are plenty. That's not the problem.

PS: I see the video is off-line now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The hard sell

"People who are nerdy and geeky tend to be a social misfit as a result (less interested in social interaction). They also tend to be more inclined to study more, and get more excited by the wonderful world of science. I'd rather people that spent their time studying in science than people who were fooled into it because it looked cool."

I was never particularly uninterested in social interaction, just uninterested in getting my teeth knocked out by some psycho who thought getting 10% on a test and skipping detention was a badge of honor (and that was just the girls) and abandoning the Career library / actual library or computer room increased the chances of that by a fair margin.

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Linux

Re: The hard sell

...which leads us again to the sort of "chick" that you see in this video. You end up with someone that fits into the Glamour or Cosmo mold but just happens to be a terribly geeky doctor.

You end up with Dr. Isles, Queen of the Dead.

"Feminist fashion magazines" are what really set the tone here, not mysoginists or brogrammers.

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FAIL

What sweaty bureaucrat in Brussels came up with this campaign?

Duh! A man, I'm guessing...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What sweaty bureaucrat in Brussels came up with this campaign?

A man without any daughters, nieces, sisters, female cousins, female friends.......

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Are you a hot BABE in heels and a short skirt?

This is the internet right?

Then yes, yes I am ;)

Seriously though... such levels of fail....

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Joke

Re: Are you a hot BABE in heels and a short skirt?

So am I but only at weekends and only to my more discerning clients.

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The inevitable MPFC response

"I'm a hot babe in heels and a short skirt, and so's my wife!"

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Awesome!

Now if only they figure out how to represent 0s and 1s as a "girl thing" (maybe with "Bulgarian airbags" and tampons) - the insult would be complete...

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FAIL

yep

this sort of thing is one of the main reasons why gender ratios are screwy. all it does is reinforce the idea that certain people are different and should be treated differently too based off gender/age/sexuality etc. heaven forbid that everyone be treated equally and sold on the idea as it actually is.

a female colleague of mine was really annoyed about having to take time away from her work to go to a "young women in technology event" instead of doing the actual job she signed up for. people are people what reproductive organs you have, skin color or bedroom preferences are irrelevant to your ability to perform in a "thinking" type job (horrible phrase but couldn't think of anything different)

just like all the " video game design" degree's that are trendy now advertising you can create your own worlds, be arty, amke millions. then the people bitch and whinge when actually they have to end up learning a bucket load of maths and coding.

stop trying to "sex up" everything and acknowledge things for what they are. science's are neat and people that don't think they are will not go into them anyway (prefering the media studies-> call center route)

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And why, I have to ask, does 'science' equal 'chemistry' here? OK, there's a tiny, tiny bit of electronics in there too, but mostly it's chemistry, yes?

[No longer a scientist. Never a babe]

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I don't know, except to think chemistry might offer more theatrical props and outfits for this video than, say some flavour of engineering.

Anecdotally, I know quite a few women in science, but they tend to be towards the medical research / doctor / brain surgeon / veterinary side of the spectrum, ie not always in the high paid private sector engineering roles. It is as if their motivation has more to do with helping people than wearing high heels (though they might choose to dress as glamorously or wittily at the weekend -or odd week night- as the next person does or doesn't.)

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FAIL

Some footage missing

They forgot:

- the train going into a tunnel

- the waves breaking on the shore

- the chimney collapsing.

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In real life ...

There are loads of eminently shaggable science students and scientists. But of course, having them take their kit off and posing for a calendar would be sexist.

Hiring three models and having them behave like complete idiots, on the other hand, is EU-fecking-approved. After all, the video has the all-important racial diversity.

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Re: In real life ...

"Studmuffins of DAMPT" isn't a calender anyone wants to see - trust me on this!

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Trollface

Re: In real life ...

As a former Chemist I would have loved to agree but the women, much like most of the men, where socially inept neck beards.

Maybe there was just less of them therefore less chance of deviation from the mean.

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Paris Hilton

Re: In real life ...

Not sure. In my class of about 60 people, there were about 35-ish women, of whom at least 20 were passable, with about 10 being quite lovely. One of these is now a proper, if slightly Gothic, MILF, and I've lost track of the others.

That was Biochem, mind. Pharma, in our neck of woods, is renowned for having a world-class collection of totty, as is Medicine, while Chemistry, and anything that has to do with electricity, is really fecking awful.

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Re: In real life ...

As another former Chemist - you _OBVIOUSLY_ did not graduate with Chemistry in Eastern Europe. I am not even going to mention Biology or Biotech.

Which leads to a thought - was it that difficult just to go to a Eastern European Biology dept cafeteria and take some interviews of how does Ms Plague, PhD look like. No need of stupid videos with idiotic sexist lipstick sterieotypes and even more idiotic "science" stereotypes.

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Re: In real life ...

Same in Italy and Spain - astronomy is a "girl's science".

There was a union protest at a conference at Rome University - the picket line was like a supermodel catwalk !

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Re: In real life ...

That's the sort of thing that suggests to me that some of this business about sexism is cultural. Whether the apparent attitudes in those countries are right or not. they don't have the same "nerd" problem. They don't see science as something different.

It doesn't have to mean that the general attitude to women is "good".

A lot of the current media standards that are presented as the ideal young woman don't work for me. Maybe nice to look at, but they're almost a caricature. Besides, there has to be something more. Sounds silly, but nobody in that video would provoke me into writing a sonnet.

No, not even a limerick.

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Anonymous Coward

I would ask those few women in science to try and make an ad, but won't.

It's fairly natural to point to an obvious deficit and then tailor your campaign to target it. This has been tried before, with this very demographic, and hasn't fixed the problem then either.

And the problem is wider: Boys seem to shun science too, if not as much possibly. But what if we tried to pull them both in together in a way that wouldn't put off either sex? Wouldn't that be a generally better approach? At the very least it'd force the ad makers to identify and then prune inherent off-putters to both sexes, including girls, from the advertising material. And once identified we can try and remove them from the science community in general. One would think that a longer lasting solution, no?

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You're right, and I agree with you, but...

...you're forgetting the War on Men that this sort of thing is designed to be a part of.

Consider the screaming outrage if somebody published a video called "Teaching: It's a Guy Thing". Ooooh boy! Yet in most Western countries, men are significantly underrepresented in the teaching industry. But letting all those nasty perverted paedophile men near children is always a Bad Idea, right? I know because a few years ago in Australia there was a campaign (albeit an extremely brief one) to get more men into teaching roles, and the feminists went absolutely apeshit. Needless to say the campaign was hastily and quietly shelved.

So when looking at these things, always remember that if it has any benefit for men, it's evil and must be prevented. Only if it's of benefit to women (or non-white ethnicities, but that's a whole other story) is it publicly acceptable.

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Boffin

Re: You're right, and I agree with you, but...

I have to agree - another good case in point is Nursery Nursing - an almost entirely female occupation. On the face of it, there's no reason men should be any worse at the job than women, apart from the fact that from an early age boys and girls are effectively segregated and raised differently.

This may not be an intentional thing, but there are societal norms which most people don't even conciously think about. This goes beyond dressing girls in pink, and boys in blue, to the fact that males and females are (beyond the obvious differences) not actually the same.

On the whole, women tend to be more nurturing and men more analytical. This isn't sexism, it is an observation, and it is worth noting that it is also a generalisation, and there are plenty of very logical analytical women who are good at spacial reasoning, just as there are plenty of men who are fantastic parents.

So what I am saying is that there is a combination of societal pressure and innate preference behind the lack of women in science, probably more so than the sexism that may be present in some organisations. We erroneously think that because men and women should have equal rights and opportunities (and they very much should), that men and women are equal. Take this to its logical extreme, and the fallacy is obvious - men and women are different, both mentally and physically. The best women's tennis player in the world would never beat the best men's player just because of pure strength, and a man would never be able to bear a child no matter how hard they tried (legal gender reassignments aside).

Some of the statistics are actually very telling. I don't have the figures to hand, but I remember reading that the gender ratio in Chemistry (which I studied at university, so have first-hand knowledge of), is skewed in favour of women at the undergraduate level (something like 60:40), but at postgraduate level it becomes more like 45:55, and further into academia is something like 20:80. What this shows isn't a lack of women going into science, but women leaving science.

So this campaign misses the point on several levels:

- Attracting women to science isn't necessarily the problem, keeping them is.

- The ad itself is hopelessly sexist and trivialises both women and science.

- There is a lack of interest in science in general, not just in girls, but boys also.

- Science education (in this country at least) in schools is currently appalling. We are failing in our duty to properly educate our children to prepare them for the world.

- Chemists actually very rarely use bunsen burners, thermostatically controlled heaters are preferred for a number of reasons.

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Thumb Up

Intro or the real scientist vids?

Everyone seems to be commenting on the intro clip, and ignoring those showing the scientists, engineers, and students describing their work.

someone should ask 9-11 year old girls (that seems to be intended audience) what they think.. I think that the combined intro and real people clips would be well recieved, and achieve the purpose of raising awareness beyond the cartoon caricatures.

.

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Re: Intro or the real scientist vids?

"someone should ask 9-11 year old girls"

When I read that I didn't think of girls I thought of terrorism

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Boffin

"Everyone seems to be commenting on the intro clip...

"...and ignoring those showing the scientists, engineers, and students describing their work."

Probably because they're thinking "What a load of patronising BS" after watching the intro which makes them completely disinclined to look any further.

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Re: Intro or the real scientist vids?

So you've had to deal with girls in that age group I take it?

(I'm going, I'm going... no coat, it's way too hot!)

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Happy

Re:When I read that...

See- the adverts for PaedoTerrorGeddon are working! Stay away from the Daily Mail etc as much as you can and try to breathe slowly...

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FAIL

Re: Intro or the real scientist vids?

I showed it (now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g032MPrSjFA) to my science-mad nine-year-old daughter. She flipped between horror, dumbstruck amazement and raucous laughter, but couldn't believe the EU could produce such a disastrously bad video. Ah, the naivety of youth...

She couldn't think of anyone she knew who'd be attracted to science by that piece of crud.

I guess there's your answer.

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Need a more realistic approach

Shots of happy smiling beautiful young people punting along the Cam and cut to shot of science student stuck in lab staring at computer screen.

Shots of HSBYP graduating and getting their sign-on bonus as management consultants and cut to shot of science student stuck in lab staring at screen for another 4-5years of PhD

Shots of HSBYP comparing their BMWs as you grind through a series of dead-end postdocs until you can apply for faculty jobs.

Then of course the future starts to get bleak....

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Re: Need a more realistic approach

Shots of happy smiling beautiful young people dying horribly from the zombies and cut to shot of mad scientist laughing hysterically.

Eventually the scientist wins.

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Re: Need a more realistic approach

Don't forget the five-arsed monkeys.

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WTF?

No idea

Most graduate are of the fairer sex (well from any half decent University), including in science. Simply because they get better grades at GCSEs and A levels than the boys. gets even more female centric at PhD level.

If any of these bureaucrats had been into a modern Pharma research company they would see there are lots and lots of ladies working there. I know I'm married to one of them...

Dr and Mr....

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Paris Hilton

No need to paint science pink

Quite right.

Over the last 20-odd years, girls are taking over in chemistry, medicine, biological sciences and many other areas, This is happening without stupid lipstick intervention ads.

Just leave things be. The right thing is happening without intervention.

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