Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cheerleaders for science

There has been a lot of electronic ink spilled on this one, both positive and negative. I had strong negative feelings about Cheerleaders for Science, but I didn't really know how to put it in words until I read Candid Engineer's awesome post on the subject.

In addition to her awesome discussion about internalized -isms, I completely agree with her thoughts about not wanting to be represented by cheerleaders herself, or reminded that many people think that cheerleaders represent the ideal woman that many of us fall short from. And I hardly need another reminder in my life that women are valued for their attractiveness to men over any other attribute.

I also want to add that as a girl, I would have been horrified beyond belief by science cheerleaders. My thought process would have been "oh great, here is another place where I don't fit in." As a kid, I hated cheerleaders. I hated skirts, pink, glitter, and dancing. I already had issues with not wanting to "dress like a girl", play with barbies, or be bad at math. I LOVED science, but Cheerleaders for Science would have tainted my refuge from the world I already didn't fit properly in. Is it worth turning away non-stereotypical girls to attract the cheerleader types? Is the target audience for Cheerleaders for Science really little girls, given that the appearance that set all this off was at the National Science and Engineering Festival?

FWIW, my own child would probably love cheerleaders, but she already thinks science is cool even without all that. She mostly needs to NOT be discouraged, not to be enticed.

I was also completely disgusted by the discussion on the topic here. Although many of the commenters posted thoughtful remarks, there was an ugly thread hijack in the middle about former girlfriends' intimate habits. Like CPP mentions on his blog, I do not think this was a random occurrence.


Hope said...

… many people think that cheerleaders represent the ideal woman that many of us fall short from.

I suppose I could agree with this … if I were a teenager and still in high school. Luckily, my horizons have broadened a bit since then, and the “many people” that I’m usually surrounded by—including a fair deal of men—don’t seem to feel this way. Am I really in the minority being a 30+ y.o. woman who does not feel bad about her body in spite of cheerleaders and models?

I’m not a fan of the science cheerleaders approach – I just don’t seem to think it is as much of a problem as other bloggers do. I also think it’s a bit hypocritical for self-professed fans of Isis to express discomfort with the science cheerleaders. Perhaps they should think about what a 2-min synopsis of Isis’ blog would look like.

Arlenna said...

She mostly needs to NOT be discouraged


Candid Engineer said...

Glad the post resonated with you...