The video: The European Union is sponsoring a three-year campaign to encourage young girls to study science and engineering, but a teaser video for the effort has caused feminists — and pretty much everybody else — to erupt in protest. (See the clip below.) The video, called Science: It's a Girl Thing, features young women gyrating and doing "science" while wearing stilettos and short dresses. As the women saunter into view, a male scientist looks up from his microscope, puts on glasses, and leers. Random shots of lipstick flash on screen, interspersed with images of lab equipment and sexy young women casting come-hither looks and doing math. The campaign yanked the video from its website shortly after the wave of criticism hit.
The reaction: Telling girls that "science can be flat-out cool" might work, says Jeffrey Kluger at TIME. But this "breathtakingly sexist" fantasy clip, complete with the guy in the lab coat "ogling the, er, 'scientists,'" will send girls running from science classrooms. It's too bad, says Physics Central, because there's "a lot of good buried under the teaser trash." The campaign website includes some great profile videos of women in science. Remember, says Wency Leung at Canada's Globe and Mail: Women earn 45 percent of Europe's doctorates, but account for only one-third of its career researchers. Something must be done, but this isn't it. Let's hope European Commission bigwigs realize that their little experiment, depicting women scientists as "cosmetics junkies," was a complete failure. Judge for yourself: