There is an advertisement out by General Electric called “What My Mom Does at GE.”
It’s just lovely. It doesn’t exactly describe whether her mom is an engineer (it seems like it) or what her title is, but it is clear that this woman is a scientist and she builds and designs things. And her daughter is proud. The feminine pronoun used throughout the commercial is “she.” This is positive. So positive, in fact, that I am blogging about it.
I did a talk in 2012 for the UMass Dartmouth Kaput Center’s Interdisciplinary Colloquium Series called “Choosing Science: Succeeding without Visible Role Models.” I ask how girls go into science when there are no positive representations of female scientists in any media, except for a few forensic crime scene investigators.
When is the last time you saw a commercial that represented a woman as a scientist? If these representations are so few and far between, what is all that junk we are seeing in the middle? I could write 20 blogs about bad commercials to every good one. This Business Insider article provides a pretty depressing look at print ads for women through the years. In a Google search “positive representations of women in commercials,” I got ZERO hits. The horribly sexist EU video “Science: It’s a Girl Thing!” almost makes things worse, until you check out this website.
I’m good with the world if I stay on Netflix, avoiding commercials. But some days I need a dose of Colbert and Stewart and I’m left seething. Huff Post did a list of bad commercials in 2012 (Gag warning!). Seeing some of these commercials makes me wonder how people are even ALLOWED, by law, to put this shit on television. If these were depictions of children being treated like this, people would freak. But, whatever, it’s just girls, er . . . I mean women.
The Superbowl is yet another great opportunity to poorly depict women. See this post. And as we live in a world where girls and women are simply a commodity that should be bought and sold, never educated (See our #BringBackOurGirls campaign at UMass Dartmouth Center for Women, Gender, & Sexuality’s Facebook Page), and even selectively reduced, I am left to ask the misogynist male leaders of the world where they think more boys are going to come from? Keep reducing the number of females on the planet and I can assure you, you will lessen the time on earth in which you can rule.