Science: It's a Girl Thing -- Demeaning or Clever?

To attract more female scientists, the European Commission created a video and other promotional videos. With an abundance of pink and a focus on cosmetics, the video has been criticized as demeaning to girls. Some even questioned whether the video was a joke, to which a spokesperson said that the European Commission, "doesn't really do irony."


As of today, the video on YouTube was viewed more than 626,000 times and received 974 likes and 6,432 dislikes. 

In fairness, the EC has several videos as part of this campaign that don't focus on girls' high-heeled bodies or show girls blowing kisses. The Irish Times reported the EC's reaction from an interview with spokesperson Michael Jennings:

"'It is intended to catch the attention of the target audience – 13- to 17-year- old girls.'

"Mr. Jennings said that focus groups informed the commission that the video had to 'speak their language to get their attention' and that it was intended to be 'fun, catchy' and strike a chord with young people. 'I would encourage everyone to have a look at the wider campaign and the many videos already online of female researchers talking about their jobs and lives,' he said."

Discussion Starters:

  • What's your view of the video? Do you find it demeaning, clever, or something else?
  • The EC took down the video after the criticism. Was this the right decision?