Look, before I begin you need to know that I have many days where rapping my head against my desk feels like the only solution to the perpetual cock-wankery of the world around me. Today, though, I’d have to shatter my skull against nine inch nails formed from the frozen piss of carthorses to find any relief. That’s because the notion of women in science has confounded both the European Commission and Mattel so deeply that they’ve had to be smothered with pillows made from common sense.
Let me explain. The European Commission has produced a film called ‘Science: It’s a girl thing!’ in an effort to get more women into, you guessed it, science. You can see it here if you want to destroy your retinas while unleashing that part of your brain that stops you killing strangers. If you don’t want to it’s 50-odd seconds of female models in stilettos, pouting, giggling and wiggling over lab beakers to the sort of dead-eyed backing track that would make you ingest fistfuls of Es in the arse-end of a Glasto festival field just to deaden the pain. Seriously, it looks more like an ad for a career in prostitution than it does in, say, biochemistry or paleoceanography.
And it gets worse because Mattel has also offered the weeping world Mars Explorer Barbie, a creature that looks so ignorant of space exploration that it would make Superman want to swallow kryptonite. You can check her out here or you can rely on me to tell you that with her coquettish hip thrust, white and pink spacesuit, glossy hair and pink, cardboard science laboratory she is infinitely more bleak than accompanying ad-speak which proclaims, “Adding to her resume of more than 130 careers, Mars Explorer Barbie doll inspires girls to be adventurous and to always reach for the stars!”
Seriously? Is this really what Mattel and the European Commission thinks it takes to get women to voluntarily enter labs? Well, fuck me backwards and spit out the bits. There I was assuming that we women would engage more in science if we were given inspiration, career choices and equality when all it really takes is for the French to waggle pink test tubes for us to follow like glitter-struck toddlers.
For all the insistence that this film and this doll have good intentions the reality is that they undermine science-loving women more than they encourage them. In fact they bear as much of a resemblance to real-life as a fucking Tinkerbell film. If Barbie really did go into space in that outfit she’d suffer suffocation and agonising death even quicker than she could apply that charming lip-tint. And if women actually believed that science was anything like that lurid film they’d be bitterly disappointed when faced with the pink-lite periodic table. The problem with ‘Science: It’s a girl thing!’ is that it applies the same rules to science as modelling agencies do to fourteen year olds. It’s not the genius swirling around your brain that matters but your ability to make your arse stick out further than your tits.
If this bunch of gurning pile-scratchers really want to get girls into science they’ll feature women cracking DNA codes, collecting rare bugs in tropical forests, dissecting cadavers and searching for the Higgs Boson at CERN. They’ll show them winning awards, furthering human endeavour and creating the technology of the future all of which is blood-searingly exciting enough without it having to be draped with sexiness. Even better, they’ll do it without featuring women who have the obligatory size 8 figure, dewy skin and come-hither eyes none of which, to date, have contributed to the development of penicillin, defence technology or open-heart surgery.
Which is why I’d like to strap both this film and Barbie to a rocket and fire the fuckers into black hole I’m forming. Believe me, if I swap writing for science it’ll be for the mind expanding, frontier roaming, Nobel Prize winning prospects rather than the fact that I can prance around a lab in fuck-me shoes. And until the European Union and Mattel realise that it’s not women they’ll lure into science but festering perverts at half mast.