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Posts Tagged ‘Role Model’

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?

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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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While surfing the net for information on science writing and medical writing agencies & reading science blogs such those from Scientific American, I see successful female science and medical writers and I think “I want to be like them!!” I want to write for a respected science magazine. I would like to make my own mark on the world of science communication. I would love to inspire other young female science writers. A dream of mine is to be either a freelance science, medical and health writer contributing to various science and health magazines and websites or to be writer working with a research organization. I am a former medical research student and I am very passionate about communicating about the essential nature of research and the key
discoveries and disease breakthroughs research has provided the modern world. With training, avid writing and perseverance I can hopefully one day achieve my dream

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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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Sam Ryan (played by Amanda Burton), a Forensic Pathologist in the BBC Drama Silent Witness was another role model of mine while growing up. She was a gutsy, determined, smart Northern Irish lady. Shame she left the show

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Dana Scully

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I was watching the X-Files movie last night on television, and it took me back to my teenage years and my immense admiration and fascination with Dana Scully. She was a strong, intelligent, beautiful, professional scientist and FBI agent. She was my idol. I wanted to be a Forensic Pathologist like her. I wanted to solve crimes using science. She inspired me to want to study science. And watching the movie last night, viewing it from a more mature angle, l realised what a fantastic role model she was. Empowered, intelligent, tough, holds her own, a feminist (or close). And last but not least, as a redhead (not natural though) I thought it was so fantastic that this smart sexy scientist was a redhead! I certainly would use Dana Scully as an example of a good female scientist role model (and as redheaded role model too!)

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Some people may wonder why I am discussing this topic. Perhaps feminists or gay activists or just people surfing the net. Some may wonder why I am even raising this issue when there is a more accepting, equal, anti-discriminatory climate in 2011. Some feminists and gay activists may question why I am distinguishing lesbians in the scientific field when gender and sexuality shouldn’t matter.

I am an empowered woman, a feminist, a lesbian and scientist. While studying science both as an undergrad and postgrad, I didn’t face any prejudices or discrimination (that I was aware of) because I was a female. I only came out in the later years of my masters, but even then I didn’t experience any negative issues. If anything, the people I told (friends, colleagues, my supervisor) were positive about it and didn’t make much of a fuss at all.

I’m not solely protesting the lack of women in science, or the lack of visibility of female scientists or the lack of visibility of lesbian scientists. I believe these are important issues and I strongly believe in encouraging greater visibility of female scientists and greater encouragement for young women to pursue careers in science. 

I am simply addressing a topic that is interesting to me. I am intrigued as to how many women in science identify as lesbian or bisexual (or queer for that matter too). And I want to know more about their experiences, their stories, their contributions and achievements in their chosen fields. I’m curious to see how many women have had positive experiences and have found that their gender and their sexuality hasn’t been an issue. We hear about scientists (that are women) and their achievements. But I have the opinion that there should be more promotion and positive images of female scientists in the media.

As a young woman I was inspired by stong female scientists (on TV and in books) to pursue a career in science. Positive representation of women in science is a great thing. And I wonder how many young lesbian / bi / queer / trans women out there who have an interest in science would be encouraged to pursue their dreams if they see other queer women that have done this. Maybe there is a need for lesbian scientist role models? I think there is! And discussing these issues is an initial step.

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