A failed experiment in making science sexy
If gyrating, giggling girls pouting amid suggestive splashes of pinkness and wetness doesn’t turn boys onto science, what will?
A new European Commission campaign is trying to harness the power of young male libidos to drag them remorselessly into the science industry. We know sex sells, and the way to sell something to all those hormonally entrapped young men out there is to suggest that if they do what we say, somewhere along the line a woman may just want to sleep with them. They’ll fall for that, right?
The EC created this somewhat sultry advertisement with smiling, strutting young lasses, sashaying along with short skirts and sky-high stilettos. Phwoar.
The video title – Science: It’s a Girl Thing! – does seem to be a little misleading, as though they think mindless pouting is what women aspire to do… but once you watch the whole thing, it’s clearly targeting males. Insulting them, but targetting them, right?
Sciencey-type doodads are intermingled with items of makeup, symbolically promising that boys’ doodads will in turn somehow become intermingled with girly-type things.
At one point, a young strumpet gets a bit careless with some balls. The marketing whiz who developed that subtle signifier moment should be up for a promotion.
The video wraps up with the obvious why-has-no-one-ever-pointed-this-out-before connection between big old dorky protective lab glasses and uber cool sunglasses. Message: Here you can wear shades inside while getting on the job.
Science, it’s cool, AND it’ll get you laid. Australia should jump to follow the EC’s lead to attract more males into…
Oh, hold on. Apparently I’ve got it arse backward. It really was meant to attract girls into science. Obviously they’ve done the research and worked out that chicks want to work in places where they can dance around petri dishes in towering heels and blow kisses into thin air.
The video, the concept was a total facepalm. It was dad-dancing-at-the-disco awkward, grabbing for cool and in the grabbing, missing and falling way wide of the mark. It’s excruciatingly patronising to males and females.
Michael Jennings, the spokesman for Research, Innovation and Science at the European Commission, said:
“(The) commission doesn’t really do irony. Hope was to get young people onto site. That seems to be happening!”
So the marketing bods will claim success by the number of hits, and the media attention. But will it stop the slide away from science?
The state of science education worldwide is bad, and the state of science education in Australia is woeful. Enrolments are down. Kids are often taught by unqualified teachers, their parents in many cases distrust scientists and therefore science.
A survey earlier this year found less than half of first-year university students thought science was crucial to quality of life. Chief Scientist Ian Chubb (whom the Government has tasked with tackling the crisis) told the National Press Club in May:
Of the year 11/12 students not studying science in 2011, only 4 per cent thought science was ‘almost always’ useful in everyday life.
It’s as though they think all the stuff that makes their lives possible, the technology and the information; their Facebook and Twitter, cars and makeup and games have all been magicked into existence. If they think they could live their lives without science, then they clearly don’t even know what science is, which is a horrifying idea.
I had a brilliant biology teacher who instilled in me a love of the philosophy of science, the methodology, as well as an awe of the natural world. That was lucky.
Is that all it takes, a good, Sagan-esque teacher? If neon-coloured music videos clearly fail to make people realise that science is sexy, what can?
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…