Science: It’s a Girl Thing!

The European Commission is trying to get more women involved in science, which is good, except…look at their Science: It’s a Girl Thing campaign. Jesus wept.

Serious man sits at microscope. Fashionable, slender girls slink in on ridiculous high heels and vogue to shots of bubbling flasks, splashes of makeup, twirling skirts, and giggling hot chicks. Seriously, this is not how you get women excited about science, by masquerading it as an exercise shallow catwalking. This is a campaign that perpetuates myths about women’s preferences. The lab is not a place where you strut in 3″ heels.

How do you get people excited about science and science careers? By talking about science. Ben Goldacre made some excellent comments on twitter about this.

The EU have funded a campaign to make women in science wear shorter skirts. #sciencegirlthing

Time and again with these high budget state funded science communication activities, they dumb down, shoot for the mainstream, and miss.

Meanwhile I can’t help noticing that the really nerdy stuff done by ppl like me and @robinince is commercially successful in the marketplace

I realise that sounds cocklike, but it’s true. Dumbed down state funded sci comms is patronising and fails to meet its stated objectives.

People – not just nerds – like nerd stuff. They like the details. They’re not thick.

@flypie @robinince we fill out rock venues, my book sold 400,000 copies, i dont know what more metrics you want. Nerd detail sells.

@edyong209 @robinince we make, a fucking, profit. we sell nerd details, and people buy it, while state £ sci comms patronises tiny audiences

The real tragedy is that somewhere, a marketing cock is celebrating that their “controversial” campaign is being discussed #sciencegirlthing

Also, to my vast surprise, for once the youtube comments are actually intelligent.

Oh wow, I can’t remember when I last felt this patronised. I’m pretty sure the message “scientists think that women are giggly, superficial and obsessed with fashion” isn’t going to get more of us doing science. Just eww. I have a physics degree. I managed to get it without strutting around a lab in a minidress and stupid shoes and doing ‘sexy’ pouts.

Rachael Borek

Please tell me that this is a sad joke. Being female and working in a laboratory I find it patronising in the extreme. I can’t believe that any intelligent woman watching this would not want to punch the advert-makers in the face. Is this REALLY what you think women interested in science want?? Go look at clips of Kari Byron hosting Mythbusters and then come back and apologise to everyone.

Catherine Du-Rose

Oh my god. I haven’t been this revolted by something since I heard about the human caterpillar. This is so insulting! I can’t find the words to properly articulate how irritated I am by this. Please tell me this isn’t a trailer – I mean, there’s not going to be more like this? I cannot imagine anything that would turn an intelligent girl off a subject faster than being patronised.


I’m a girl and I’m a scientist. I definitely do not go prancing around making make up. I work on a computer and do processing. Science is not a girl thing, it’s an everyone thing, everyone who is passionate enough about doing what they love. This is a terrible, terrible video, and I feel very offended, and I know my male colleagues do not see me like this. I feel rather disgusted.


Hey, next time an organization tries to do the right thing and encourage more diverse people to participate in science, how about if you actually talk to scientists and try to understand what motivates them, rather than dragging some refugee from the fashion and music video world to tell women how to be scientists?