So here is what the European Commission thinks is the way to get girls more interested in science:
Apparently, the Commission thinks the defining aspect of girls who are interested in science is that they wear lipstick and high heels — and love sexy dance music. I guess they never saw Dr. Frank N. Furter in Rocky Horror Picture Show. Rimshot! [OK, that's technically a "sting."]
Seriously, though, the Commission does seem to have a thing for lipstick, as their “Science: It’s A Girl Thing!” website makes painfully clear:
As you can imagine, the video didn’t go over well with actual scientists of both sexes. The L.A. Times reports:
Appalled scientists said the video was a sexist bit of advertising based on the idea that only fashion could get girls interested in test tubes.
“It’s as if Disney channel male execs do ‘science Barbie,’” geologist and blogger Sharon Hill tweeted in disgust. “Terrible.”
Ben Goldacre, author of the Guardian‘s “Bad Science” column, joked, “The EU have funded a campaign to make women in science wear shorter skirts.”
Could the ad be “a fiendish ploy to highlight the stereotyping of women and scientists?” University of Bristol climate scientist Tamsin Edwards quizzed the campaign through Twitter.
Though apparently embarrassed enough to [try to] take the video down, the Commission seems to be of the there’s-no-such-thing-as-bad-press school:
The “Commission doesn’t really do irony,” European Commission spokesman for science Michael Jennings replied. “Hope was to get young people onto site. That seems to be happening!”
Quite. Though the outpouring of attention may have brought more attention to the campaign, the girly video caused such an outcry that the European Commission eventually pulled it from YouTube — only to find that Internet users had already copied it elsewhere.
Yes, well, under that reasoning the Commission could have put in some nudity and, heck, maybe some vampires, if they really wanted people to visit the site. Oh, and I’m guessing lot of the people viewing the site and the video aren’t young girls!
The Commission does have a better, albeit less flashy, video on their site:
Oddly enough, the first video has been watched more than 10 times as much as this one. Go figure.