Pop Quiz

Pop Quiz: GIRLS!

If you haven’t already seen this adorable ad where three little girls make a Rube-Goldberg machine out of their girly toys, you should take a moment to check it out.

It was released by GoldiBlox, a company selling toys aimed at getting young girls to construct and build with the hope of inspiring future woman makers and engineers. Marketing STEM to girls has been a tricky subject in the past and range from lower-powered pink telescopes and microscopes, to the awful “Science, It’s a Girl Thing” video that was tried, and pulled, last year. But this new ad won me over as a step in a positive directions for helping girls to explore engineering.

The toys allow kids to build some kind of contraption that goes along with a story. And, there’s plenty of pink and pastels still included, just as the girls in the ad still wear “girly” colors. Its as if girls can build and construct and learn without having to give up their girliness! Shocking, I know. Yet as a young girl interested in science in my own childhood, I tried very, very hard to be more like “one of the boys” and eschew traditional “girly” things to fit in. I tried to be a tomboy, I really really did. But in the end I learned to embrace femininity and my love of science as two compatible things.

Amusingly, the new ad is set to a rewrite of “Girls” by the Beastie Boys, a notoriously misogynistic song. But the Beastie Boys later turned around and became outspoken for feminism, so I’m sure the appreciate the new lyrics. I know it’s been stuck in my head all day.

What do you think of the new GoldiBlox ad and their mission? How do you, or don’t you, teach science, engineering, math, or technology differently to girls than to boys? 

The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it to appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons (ET).

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Nicole

Nicole

Nicole is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at a small liberal arts college. Her home on the internet can be found at One Astronomer's Noise.

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