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Monday, July 14, 2014

THE FRAGILE PRINCESS

"Our words can have a huge impact. Isn't it time we told her she's pretty brilliant, too? Encourage her love of science and technology and inspire her to change the world."
-Reshma Saujani

Recently I saw a public service announcement (PSA) on TV during a Mythbusters show.  Usually these are boring or pointless, and sometimes luridly shocking to try to terrify people into doing something, but this one was... well I'll tell you about it.  You might have seen it yourself.
It starts with a very little girl in a pretty dress outside, and the voice of her mom says "careful not to get your dress dirty!"
The next shot is her, a little older, pinning planets and stars to her ceiling in vast numbers, making it difficult for an adult to move through her bedroom.  Her mom says "I think this project is getting out of control."
The last shot is her a little older now, trying to use an electric screwdriver to build what looks like a rocket, and its obviously a little big and heavy for her, so she's struggling.  The parent says "be careful, let your brother do that!"
The conclusion?  What you say to your child affects them, we need more girls in science.
...
Seriously?  Are girls so totally fragile and glassine, so pathetically weak and easily crushed that gentle parenting to protect and guide them will destroy their gentle souls?  Is the delight in science and industry such a guttering candle flame that it is snuffed by even the mildest breeze?
The moral of this ridiculous PSA is apparently: never correct or guide your girl because you will crush her free spirit and destroy our future.  Boys?  Heck with them, who needs them anyway.
This manic need to get girls into science and technical fields is just wierd to me anyway, is there something inherently superior to these fields, or something shameful if girls just don't care to go into them?  Where's the PSA bemoaning the lack of girls in welding and digging ditches?
The entire exercise is part of the latest feminist jag to get more women into fields they don't seem terribly inclined to be part of, even if they have to be forced to.  The idea that maybe, just maybe girls aren't as interested in these areas seems to completely elude the people behind this stuff.
They quote a stat without any context or information claiming that "66 percent of 4th grade girls like science and math, but only 18 percent of college engineering majors are female." liking something doesn't mean you necessarily want to make a career out of it.  I suspect they ALSO like more traditional female-oriented work as well, is it so bad they go into those fields instead?
Its just such a poorly done, absurdity of an ad, and yet sites like ThinkProgress are touting it as wonderful stuff.  Some days I just shake my head.

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