Words matter

This gifset has been going around Tumblr awhile now (1,408,824 notes while I’m writing this!), and I think it’s a very important message.

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Gender is irrelevant really. Kids all like science. I know I did, and I think the same is true of everyone I know who ended up in science, no matter what their gender may be. The unfortunate thing is that we tell kids that science is for boys, while discouraging girls. Science toys are marketed at boys because it’s ok for boys to play with chemistry sets or catch bugs or break rocks in two to look for fossils. The idea that girls shouldn’t do these things is ridiculously old fashioned.

Conversely, I wish people would stop having “brilliant” ideas of making science appeal to girls by making it girly. What’s so bad about just, you know, encouraging girls to like something as it is? After a conversation I had with @girlandkat a few weeks ago, I find myself thinking along the same lines more and more. Gender is only an issue because we make it an issue. We should stop making things for children which are so needlessly gender defined, and stop pushing children down such narrow gender-based avenues. I’m quite certain the increased diversity will benefit everyone.

In the meantime, for anyone reading this with children or younger family members, I’d ask you to please keep one thing in mind. Push interests not gender roles. If a kid is interested in something, you should encourage them. Not tell them to stop it because outdated values claim that it’s not appropriate for someone with their anatomy.

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
This entry was posted in academia and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Words matter

  1. Pingback: “She is an astronomer” | Supernova Condensate

  2. Velda says:

    * I meant IF you’re having trouble with spam. Send support a note. :)

  3. Velda says:

    “Gender is only an issue because we make it an issue. ”

    Love this. :) I’ve been trying to teach my kids that it’s about the work they put into it, not about what they’re born with. My daughter wants to be an engineer and my son wants to be a programmer. And right now to earn extra money, she prefers mowing lawns, and he prefers babysitting. Whatever works best for them, right?

    PS: you’re having trouble with spam, I know some folks who can help! :)

  4. Pingback: [BLOG] Some Thursday links | A Bit More Detail

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