An advert designed to get the fairer sex into science has drawn harsh criticism from men and women alike.
The ad to the right, published as part of the EU’s Women In Research And Innovation initiative, features a trio of leggy models in short skirts and high heels striking empowering poses while a male scientist (you can tell by the glasses and white coat) gawps at them over the top of his microscope. It then cuts wildly between glamour shots of the models and close up, slow-motion shots of scientific equipment and make up. It finally ends with the tag line “Science: It’s A Girl Thing!” Only the I is a tube of lipstick.
Because women really like lipstick, you see.
The video went up yesterday, and rather than inspire women around the world to rise up, cast off the yoke of oppression and dedicate their lives to science, it’s inspired dozens to point out that they find the ad insipid and insulting. The original video has since been made private after it received a glut of negative feedback, but a second copy was uploaded by a savvy YouTube user.
Trying to counteract the cultural bias that tends to persuade young women away from the hard sciences is a noble endeavor, but the advertising equivalent of sticking a pair of shoes next to a Bunsen burner and going “See? It’s for ladies, too!” doesn’t seem to be doing the trick.