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Archive for the ‘Role Models’ Category

Lipstick On My Lab Coat

I am currently brainstorming an article about how Dana Scully from the X-Files was an inspiration for me (to be a scientist and a strong, intelligent woman). I have been doing some background reading of blog posts, webpages and a thesis on Scully, what she represented and how she inspired countless young female X-Files fans. Scully and the X-Files were big topics for online fan forums.

I too am a great fan of Detective Olivia Benson from Law and Order – Special Victims Unit. This strong female character also had a great influence on me (although it was less career focused and more a realisation of my sexuality (my fascination with Olivia set me on a path to discovering my lesbian sexuality)). There are many blog posts, websites and fanfic stories discussing Olivia being an inspiration for women and also a subject of lesbian desire.

I find it interesting that…

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I was thinking about Dana Scully this morning while getting ready for work, and what an inspiration she was to me when I was a teenager. I was reminiscing about my teenage years and my daily bus ride home from the coast to my home in a small town among rainforest on a mountain. And thinking about those times, Scully popped into my head. Her character on the X-Files inspired me to pursue science, and specifically forensic science (and forensic pathology) as a career. My career path took an alternative path and headed towards microbiology, research and now administration in scientific and university environments. But I still credit the figure of Scully – analytical, scientific and strong, for me being a scientist. And as a teenage girl who knew she didn’t look like and was not like everyone else, she was an inspiration – a pretty redhead who wore suits, carried a gun and used her intelligence and knowledge, and not her looks and sexuality, to succeed.

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Lipstick On My Lab Coat

Lesbian femme scientist pin-up girl from the I Heart Brooklyn Girls Calendar 2009. Awesome! Retro styled, femme woman presenting the sexy side of science. A bit of fun, not too serious. Could this be an image to use for getting lesbian women interested in science?

Links
I Heart Brooklyn Girls

I Heart Brooklyn Girls Blog

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I borrowed a book from the university library entitled, Science, Technology and Culture by David Bell. And I was pleased to see a few mentions of the X-Files. I was even more delighted to see a short paragraph about Dana Scully and what her character represented / conveyed. The paragraph read, “…. one aspect of the show that was seen positively, at least by some people, was its depiction of a female scientist in the central character Dana Scully (Wilcox & Williams, 1996). In playfully upturning the association of males and scientific rationality, Scully was the show’s sceptic and scientist, a foil to Fox Mulder’s ‘irrational’ belief in alien abduction and government conspiracy. An extratextual effect of this narrative commented on at the time was that it reopened the door to science for girls and women who had previously been excluded or had themselves from education or employment in ‘male’ science.’ For myself, seeing Scully as a female scientist and being rational and analytical spoke volumes to me. It was an affirmation of being a female scientist and showed to me that I too could do it. And Scully provided inspiration and a career path at the time – forensic science (which I didn’t end up pursuing). For me she was a great role model and the X-Files greatly stimulated my interest in science and my own rational thought and critical thinking. Book – Bell, David (2006) Science, Technology and Culture, Open University Press, McGraw-Hill Education, Maidenhead, UK.

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Margaret Thatcher, a chemist, lawyer, politican and prime minister of Britain for 11 years, had strawberry blonde hair. So who says blondes are dumb and ditzy! I used to feel strange having long blonde hair and studying science. What did people think of me? I didn’t want to be seen as a ‘dumb blonde’. I been teased in high school about my hair colour and what that implied. I didn’t have that at uni thank god. When I was halfway through my PhD (I finished it as a MPhil – Master of Philosophy), I finally made the leap and died my hair red. I’d wanted to for a while – I liked the fiery and passionate nature it implied, my favourite actress Rita Hayworth had red hair (dyed) and I never thought being blonde was really me. And I was making a statement against all those who wanted to be blonde – I was blonde and didn’t want to be! So I have had red/strawberry blonde hair since and it suits me and its as though I should have been born a red-head with my colouring and passionate nature. I’m no longer blonde haired, but I still believe society should stop ridiculing blondes for being dumb. And isnt it rather strange and ironic that so many women want to be blonde and it is seen as a sexualised and pornographic ideal when blondes are ridiculed for being dumb, ditzy and incompetent?

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What would the ideal Lesbian role models look like? They would be diverse to reflect the diversity of lesbian women. They would have to encompass bisexual, queer and transgendered woman. Also the different identities some lesbian/bi/queer women identify with such as femme, butch, lipstick etc

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Kay Scarpetta from the Patricia Cornwell series of crime novels, also a Forensic Pathologist, was a role model and an inspiration to me while growing up. She two was a smart, tough lady.

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