People have offered many potential explanations for this discrepancy, but this ad highlights the importance of the social cues that push girls away from math and science in their earliest childhood years.

Watch the powerful Verizon advertisement to really understand what a little girl hears when you tell her she’s pretty.

This is so important. Girls pay attention. Boys, if you are a brother, father, cousin of a girl, pay attention.


I’d prefer it if that last shot didn’t call so heavily on the idea that wearing makeup is the opposite of technical interests. In a message about the message we send girls, these gestures count. Especially as a closing shot. Oops, she cares about her appearance (or maybe has chapped freaking lips) and will never science again because she ignored this one poster, a lost cause!!! Except that science fair is pretty likely to be a hotbed of biased bullshit too; not necessarily a huge missed opportunity. Don’t pigeon hole girls and women based around expectations of cleanliness &c then act all shocked when fastidious appearance keeping becomes part of their routine. Interest in STEM and physical appearance upkeep routines aren’t mutually exclusive, anyway. Besides, taking digs at girls whose interests may have veered into “girly” activities as a result of wanting to feel safe, confident and competent is hardly a way to win them back to STEM. It just says that there’s a right and wrong way to be a woman in the field(s). Which is BS of the highest order.

Keep working on it, y’all. It was a good try, you just missed one of the many bellicose elephants that hang out in the room.


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