Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Houston, we have an image problem

I was at a novelty store a few months ago, and came across a board game called "The Mad Professor Science Kit". I noted that the mad science professor looks nothing like me at all.

I've written a lot about how journalists and artists and other media people need to get the memo about what professors and scientists look like, in order to help change images in the minds of the younger generation. 

Alas, we still have a ways to go. Here is my unscientific analysis.

Method: Clip Art Google Image search, Screenshot of page 1 of results.

Term 1: professor

Results: 8% owl, 92% male, 0% female. Only one person who may be of asian or latino descent. (Note: Page 2 has a whopping two female professors - wowie! And one person of color.) 

Term 2: scientist

Results: 80% male, 20% female. No owls. One person of color. Page two has owls, and a few more women.

Term 3: engineer

Results: Of 19 humans and gendered characters (Mickey Mouse), 90% male, 10% female. No people of color.

Term 4: "computer scientist"

Results: Of the three humans, 33% are women! And it's Grace Hopper, baby! No people of color, though we do have a link to "African Americans in Science and Technology", which is nice. An a Pi symbol, cat, Connect 4, and some cool geek pride T-shirts. 

"Software engineer" and "programmer" do not yield very positive results, but I am pleased to say "computer programmer" yields several women, including a woman of color and this awesome coloring book page: 

I know it seems like a silly thing, clipart, but a heck of a lot of people use it when preparing presentations.

Any artists out there want to start a revolution? Or maybe work on an NSF proposal? I think this would be a great STEM education thing. And easy as anything to do. 

No comments:

Post a Comment