Friday, February 01, 2008

When GOOD science outreach ideas take a BAD turn

Yesterdays edition of Sigma Xi Student News had a great example of a cool science outreach idea with a really stupid, unnecessary twist:

Casting 25 to 35-Year-Old Male Host for Science Adventure Show
Objective Productions (UK) and The Discovery Channel are in search of a 25 to 35 year old male host for a new adrenalin fueled and action filled show. Our host will take on seemingly impossible challenges with crazed enthusiasm while placing his faith in science no matter how crazy the task appears. DANGERMAN is a documentary style reality series that replicates the extraordinary stunts performed by daredevils, stuntmen and showmen and explains the scientific principles that make the most amazing feats possible. Applicant MUST BE A SCIENCE GRADUATE (minimum bachelors degree). You must have an interest and passion for extreme and dangerous sports and related areas. Please submit a recent photo (from the last six months) along with a bio or resume and letters stating your interest in the show, science, adventure and extreme dangerous sports. All submissions can be e-mailed to (email me if youre interested and want the link), which is in London.

Aw now common. Disqualified by boobies.


If anything, it would be better TV if the host is a chick. Not that I dont love Bill Nye, Beakman, Mr. Wizard, and the Kratt Brothers, but why not a science-TV Lara Croft? This could have been a great opportunity to show a tough young woman having FUN with science. Guys would like it, girls would like it, YAY!



Sili said...

Heh - even before I got to your complaint, I kept thinking repeatedly "Why a guy?". I actually thought that I had to look for a more subtle problem.

Well, my guess is that this concept is thought up by guys. And guys always make the fundamental mistake of thinking that women think the same way they do.

So the brainstorming session has gone something like:

Guy1: How do we get more girls interested in SCIENCE(tm)?

Guy2: I know! Why not have a scienceshow with a sexy host?!!

Everyone: GREAT IDEA!

Nah ... they're just wankers.

Ian said...

You're going to email them and ask to explain their bigotry, right?

Efrique said...

I'm imagining a science show with Abbie.

You could have a regular segment with a dummy (akin to Buster on the mythbusters) called LiLo. It could lose debates with you (it would only need a loop of tape to beat the real one) and then you could blow it up and stuff.

But mostly, Abbie doing Lara Croft sounds cool.

Barklikeadog said...

I prefer boobies. I'd rather see a girl like some of those hot climber girls I always wished existed in my climbing days. Their a lot more thoughtful about things anyway and they don't pee right outside the tent. Plus as a father of a future paleontologist, I want more good female science role models to aspire to be like. My daughter needs to see more of that. Abbie, why don't you apply and change their minds? Besides, by definition, girls can't be wankers. (I actually had to look that one up on Wikipedia even though I lived in Britain in the 70's. I'm severly out of touch.)

sexysecularist said...

Send them an email letting them know that you're an edgy, body-building, science-crazed hottie, and that your knockers will just increase viewership.

Use the word "knockers," too. That's a point for feminism right there.

ArgusEyes said...

Gosh! The evil talons of the patriarchy extends everywhere. Beware girls, never fail to be wary lest that chip falls from your shoulder.

If your writing on this blog is anything to go by your infantile tone would not a good program make. I'm sure many women would be suited to the role but it certainly wouldn’t be you. But I digress.

I can sympathise with your point of "why"? Like when I walked past a shop window advert which stated "manageress wanted". "Why" was the question in my mind at that moment in time. But ever the feminist your reaction to the post was female superiority. Why of course, it makes perfect sense. To ask for a man would be sexist because women are clearly better. That makes perfect sense - to a feminst.

Somerville said...

check out the cover of this book:

and compare to Abbie's photos when she posted her haircut story.

Great leadin for her application to the TV show

Art said...

Arguseyes, you troll, Abbie didn't say the host had to be a female, but she made a good case why having a female host would be better. If I wanted the job, I'd be arguing why someone in their sixties would be best. But Abbie's argument would be better than mine.

The producers, however, blatantly discriminated, making an assumption that only a male applicant would be welcome. That's not just unethical, IMO, it's stupid for their own purposes to make such assumptions. They are ruling out, sight unseen, many qualified, and charismatic young women.

-- HalfMooner

Kristjan Wager said...

In Denmark, such a job description would be illegal. Wonder why it isn't the case in the US - would it be acceptable to discriminate job applier on other aspects like race? Probably not, so why is it allowed to do it on gender?

HalfMooner said...

Kristjan, there are special exceptions for the entertainment industry in US employment anti-discrimination laws.

The Factician said...

placing his faith in science

Faith has no place in science. You don't want to be involved with losers who think this show is a good idea.

Perfectly Candide said...

Yeah, they should allow it to be Dangerwoman if the best candidate for the job.

Unfortunately though they don't seem to say so, I would suspect they would probably want a physical sciences graduate. After all the science most involved in stunts is physics. Most of the rest is chemistry.

"Kristjan, there are special exceptions for the entertainment industry in US employment anti-discrimination laws."

I would be shocked if that was not the case in Denmark as well. There is no country whose entertainment industry must consider a black woman for the role of Abraham Lincoln no matter her qualifications. Whether such exceptions which extend to a host who is not portraying a character, one will need to consult a Danish lawyer. In the U.S. such an exception does. Consider that in virtually every local evening news show in the U.S. has both a male and a female news coanchor. It is not by accident.

Kristjan Wager said...

Whether such exceptions which extend to a host who is not portraying a character, one will need to consult a Danish lawyer.

No, one does not need to consult a Danish lawyer. One can just take a look at the law in question. And yes, it's legal to choose people for specific acting roles based on their looks, however, it's not legal to advertise a job except in gender neutral terms (no one would get fined for advertising a Lincoln role in non-gender neutral terms, though). And trust me, if a woman wanted that job in Denmark, they'd have a very good discrimination case.

ERV said...

Didnt you all hear the PZ/Simmons 'debate'?? 'Infantile' is the funniest insult EVAH! I cracked up when I read arguseyes post!

somerville-- Now THAT creeped me out! WHOA!

jfatz said...

If people were smart, they would never disqualify your boobies. Or boobies in general, really. It's just bad business!


mikeyinRD said...

Just to complete the range of possible explanations, given that almost all of these kind of programs (happy science fun for adults) on Discovery have two hosts, one of each sex, is it not possible that they have already cast the female host?

The script possibilities of a male vs female "dare you" format would appeal to most producers, I'm sure.

That said, I do agree that there is a major sex ratio imbalance in science reporting and presentation.

October Mermaid said...

I dunno, I'm probably just being over sensitive and jumping at shadows, but I don't really like that "faith in science" part they have in there. I mean, that's kind of missing the point. You might as well say "faith in facts and evidence," but then, would that still be considered faith?

Yeah, I'm reading way too much into this. Which is kind of weird, considering people are having a conversation about boobies, which I really should be joining in on instead.

Barklikeadog said...

Gosh, Arguseyes. Something to fear from a feminist? Your post smacks of misogyny. Do strong intelligent women go against your religion? Or are your balls not big enough for a world of strong women? Your just a Troll anyway w/o the sense to not provide us with entertainment. Having a woman show host makes perfect sense to a non-feminist like me too, you Troll. & it's not just for the boobies. What I want to see in this world are the effects of smart strong women. They make great sense and, unless you just hate women, they can do much to turn the evils of patriarchy around given the chance. I think your just jealous you don't have a neat blog like ERV's.

October Mermaid said...

I'm jealous I don't have a neat blog like ERV's!

Um, I'm also jealous of all the people who have a much bigger understanding of science than I have (since mine is not so great).

Rich Hughes said...

I'll see your "should be a girl" and raise you "in lingerie".

Writers, if you're reading this, I can think of a handfull of great experiments for her...!

Vorebane said...

Hey, I'm a lurker! This may have been mentioned already, but ERV seems to have been hit by a googlebomb. I always get here by googling erv, because I read this blog from a couple different computers, and just typing out endogenousretrovirus is hard and I'm lazy. Imagine my rage and extra work when for a couple days ERV doesn't show up from googling erv for a couple days! Aaaand a few days after that, ERV is back in her rightful place, but accompanied by what sounds like a quote from Dembski, or maybe Behe. If I was funnier I would probably go off on a tear now. If you guys already saw this, then you did, and I'm late.

My vote is for AS to apply anyway.

Vorebane said...

Ah, crap. That was AS's post right before this one. *facepalms* Carry on.

ERV said...

Nononono I didnt know about the Google bomb thing.

I guess it was little baby Casey throwing a little baby tantrum, LOL!

Ed Darrell said...

Apply anyway. Any woman with the balls to apply for it probably has a leg up on the guys anyway.


I'm bummed at the age thingy. Plus, I don't have a science degree.

Is there any chance they're hiring a male and a female host, and they ran separate ads?

Women oughtta apply.

Ed Darrell said...

And, um . . . ::ahem:: . . . it's more than mammaries that make the difference.

alloy said...

I'm all for more mammaries on the telly....for sound biological reasons.

Seriously though, I asked the same question as I read the add, why not a lady?

Vorebane said...

As an expansion on encouraging Abbie to apply, if only to smack the producers here across the head and make them aware of the possibility...

We need Bill Nye the Science Guy back. Bill can cover the baking soda volcanoes and such, Abbie can explain how mitochondria produce ATP using a combination of aerobic respiration and the force, and other sciency things.

Then we have a lightsaber battle over whether midochlor- mitochondria originate from intruding bacteria, or absorbed extremophiles. <_<

dave said...

Just goin' to say, if the best of a bunch of actors playing Bob Dylan is a woman, why not a female Abe?

Anyway, just tried out googling for erv, and from the UK you're at the top as should be. Bizarrely, at no. 6 there's

"ERV Bible Bonded Leather

Buy ERV Bible Bonded Leather at Christian Bookshop."

The mind boggles.

Anonymous said...

FYI, I've seen this ad posted elsewhere, and they are not limiting the search to men. DANGERWOMAN is a realistic possibility, so go for it!