I read an article in a recent WIE magazine about how to get more women into computer science/engineering. The lady said all this stuff about how law has done it (not at the partner level, but at the law school and associate level), and so has medicine (I think women are now 50+% of medical students). Why not in engineering?
After I read that article, I thought long and hard about the best way to get more women into engineering - I think it really boils down to a perception issue. You want to know why Law and Medicine did it? Two answers:
ER and Ally McBeal.
Ok, not really, but there really are a lot of shows on TV that totally glorify law and medicine, and on top of that the shows are really about hot sexy people having hot sexy sex with each other. Think of one show about hot sexy engineering having hot sexy sex in an engineering building. Mmmm....ZERO.
Honestly, I think this raises the mental accessibility of Law and Medicine to women, because obviously there are lot of women in these shows in order for the men to have someone to have hot sexy sex with. Thus, both genders are well represented in these disciplines, and moreover, they are always having hot sexy sex so everyone wants to be a Doctor or a Lawyer to have this life.
In the last few years there have been a few geeky shows on TV that at least SHOW geeky people are somewhat main characters instead of just ancillary caricatures. Of course, they are all men, but I suppose it's a start. Geek representation on TV is a whole other subject. For now, I'll just review these shows.
Big Bang Theory:
This show airs on CBS and is about a bunch of total geeks who are friends, and the shenanigans they get into because a beautiful blonde girl moves in across the hall. These are geeks at their most...stereotypical.
The Indian Guy - in the few episodes I've seen what I learned about him is that he cannot speak to women. He is like, physically unable to speak to a member of the female sex, he's too scared.
The Jewish Guy with the Bowl Cut - he is the one who thinks about sex all the time.
The Arrogant Sociopathic Guy - this guy is not REALLY sociopathic but he totally denigrates things like feelings and emotions, reveres only logic and rational thought, and considers himself God's gift to Science.
The Nice Guy - This is the guy who is just that lovable geek that could totally be a girl's best friend, all the while pining for Beautiful Girl while she pines for Wrong Guy, and in the end she may or may not realize that he's the only one that will treat her right and possible also bring home millions as the next Mark Zuckerberg.
All in all, I enjoy the show enough to watch when I channel surf and see it on, but I'm sure it doesn't reach a wide audience. A lot of the jokes are totally out there, but it's quasi-real geek representation. However, it's not the kind of show where people will be saying, "I decided to be an X because of Big Bang Theory" the ways I've heard lots of people say, "I decided to be a lawyer because I loved Law and Order" or "I wanted to get into forensics because I love CSI". No one wants to be these guys...unless you already are total geeks, because these guys are alpha geeks. But I like it, it makes me think fondly of all my geeky friends.
This show is soooo dumb but cute. I kinda like it, enough to actually TiVO it and watch it every now and then.
First of all, Zachary Levi (the dude who plays Chuck) is ADORABLE. I have a soft spot in my heart for geeks, I find extremely "classically" hot dudes kind of repulsive in a way. I have NEVER been a girl to swoon over some abs. I am a girl who swoons over humor and brains. So...Chuck is like, freakin' adorable. I love his hair, his Converse shoes, and his short sleeved button downs.
I watched a TiVO'ed episode yesterday, and he made all these geeky references which weren't over the top, but are the kinds of things that regular geeks (i.e. the ones who aren't stereotypical like the ones in Big Bang) do just in normal life.
1) He talked about how Pluto was no longer a planet and how he was kind of bummed out about it.
2) He talked about using the Force. He was trying to reach something he couldn't reach and just said in passing to himself, "C'mon Chuck, use the Force USE THE FORCE!" That's so something I would do. But I don't think everyone does that. And it's not *out there* but it's just regular geek.
3) He talked about MacGyver. The way he said it you could just tell he was one of those dorky boys as a kid who lived for MacGyver and watched every episode. It was cute.
So...none of the above are crazy geek markers the way the things the dudes in Big Bang do are totally geek markers - Chuck is a normal guy who happens to be a geek, and happens to be adorable. We need more geeks like this on TV. Now, he just needs to have a lot of hot sex with hot sexy she-geeks, kind of like his ex-girlfriend Jill, and we are all set. I loved the exchanges between Chuck and Jill a few episodes ago where they got all gaga over each other from totally geek references. That's how I get over Mr. PhizzleDizzle. When he knows something or figures something out that blows my mind, I want to just jump his bones.
In short, I vote for more hot sexy brainiac geek chicks on TV. We need a engineering Addison Shepard/whatever her maiden name is, an engineering Dr. Noah Wylie, an engineering Ally McBeal, and they need to get into a love triangle meanwhile saving the world over at the NSA with computers and technology.
2 years ago