To follow on from my previous post – I am still digesting the different images of women in science.
To be completely honest, as a lesbian scientist who likes a bit of glamour, I quiet like the idea of a sexy female scientist in a lab coat. Though I guess I would see her from two different angles – the smart, intelligent, professional scientist and the attractive woman. And I don’t mean to sound conceited, but I would view her with respect and acknowledge her profession along with her attractiveness.
I think programs such as CSI do sexualise the image of a female scientist and cynically I think they do that to draw in a male audience (and with it a few women as well). Although these female scientists are professionals and are seemingly respected by their peers, their immaculate grooming, high heels etc do still portray a different image.
When I was working in lab I always wore make up and took pride in my clothes (I went through a Goth / alternative / 1940’s phase), but never did I feel (and hopefully my colleagues and supervisor thought the same way) this distracted from my professional and academic knowledge and my ability to conduct my experiments. Maybe this is the image that is meant to be portrayed in CSI and the like, but somehow I don’t think so.
Abbey from NCIS is a different matter. I think she is one of the best representations of a female scientist in current TV shows. She is a funky, different, goth girl, but she has a fantastic analytical brain, can solve any forensic mystery and holds her own amongst the males in NCIS. Her character should be promoted more as a positve role model and young women who watch this show should be encouraged to follow a career like hers. Hell she could be used to promote science and forensic science studies at universities across the world!
I’ve also written before about who inspired me to become a scientist – Dana Scully from the X-Files. But she too is an excellent image of an intelligent, empowered woman who has a career in medicine, forensic pathology AND law enforcement. What an awesome woman! When I think about it know, no wonder I wanted to be a forensic pathologist – I saw Scully and I wanted to be like her!
Well I didn’t end up becoming a forensic pathologist. I pursued a career in microbiology (specifically molecular microbiology to do with antibiotic resistance). After finishing a Masters degree I found myself working for a company in the engineering field. So I have taken a completely different path, but what I learnt through my uni studies have helped me get where I am.
I am hoping to break into science or medical writing, but that probably requires more study. I was reading http://amusedartichoke.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/women-in-science-the-communicators/ and was fascinated to find that women make up the majority of science writing applications. I think that is fantastic! There are female scientists out there wanting to communicate with the public about science. Awesome.
So to all those female scientists out there, keep doing what you are doing!
- Women In Science – shy and nerdy or sexualised? (sapphicscientist.wordpress.com)
- Aust missing out on female science talent (news.theage.com.au)
- The CSI Effect: Where Pop Culture Meets Reality (ifrymineinbutter.com)
- Great Women in Science for The Past Decades (socyberty.com)
- Smithsonian Channel Women in Science Contest Winner [The Thoughtful Animal] (scienceblogs.com)
- Do women science bloggers tweet differently to men? (Part 1) (guardian.co.uk)
- L’Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowships (waiteresearchinstitute.wordpress.com)
- Smithsonian Channel Women in Science Contest [The Thoughtful Animal] (scienceblogs.com)
- WISE Presents: Celebration of Women in Science and Engineering (seedsottawa.wordpress.com)