Yesterday I did my first ever keynote presentation at The James J. Kaput Center for Research and Innovation in Mathematics Education. I’m sure some of my readers are like “WTF? Math Education?” Dr. Parker knows NOTHING about that.
My talk was titled “Choosing Science: Succeeding without Visible Role Models” and I looked at the representation of women across the STEM fields and then examined the representation of fictional scientists in Hollywood and television. The talk will be available in the next week or two as a download. (As an actor and director, I will watch it and critique everything I did wrong, to improve upon it for future use).
But what resonated with most, the day after, was a comment made by a Ph.D. student from Turkey, who stated that women’s representations as scientists in Turkey is more equal and she questioned whether these issues were western or U.S. based. This comment gave me pause. Of course I think media representation issues are based in the U.S., but I don’t think I have thought enough about this from a global perspective. When I think of France, I picture a similar advertising to the US, but does that play out the same way in commercials?
We do know that in politics, the U.S. lags behind many European countries in how women are represented. England and Germany have had women as their leaders, for example. But what kind of commercials are shown and who runs their media. One comment from a colleague, from England, was that he felt as if the U.S. is spewing it’s crappy media across the pond towards Europe; that every time he goes home it feels more like the U.S. I guess I need to ask some of my friends in Europe–I have two in England, one in France, and one in Switzerland what their experience is.
If you have any ideas on this subject or suggestions, please send them my way. This work I am engaged in, on representation seems to get more expansive the more time I spend on it.
I think in my next blog I will do a mini study on representation of women and girls in Christmas movies. Or will there be nothing to write about?