Why, mercy, I feel a fit of the vapours coming on!

Over at Pomegranate, That Girl has written a post about the difficulties she’s always had with science and her pleasure at finding some bloggers who are hoping to set up a popular science magazine that she thinks she – and hopefully, some day, her daughter-to-be – will be able to get into.  A magazine aimed at making science more accessible to non-scientific types, and even scientophobes – that’s got to be a good thing, right?

Well, the trouble is that this planned magazine isn’t aimed at non-scientific types, as such.  It’s aimed at women.

"We want to launch a new popular science magazine aimed at women. It will cover interesting and timely science stories, with an emphasis on topics that appeal to women, such as medical research and the environment. We hope it will be intelligent, engaging, inviting, stylish and appealing. We’re all qualified and mostly experienced science journalists and we think we’ve got a winning idea."

Why, indeed, yes.  Because women can’t possibly be expected to be interested in science in general terms, and need suitable human interest stories to be hand-picked.  Unlike men, who are obviously going to be into science and so don’t need anyone to smooth their path to it.  And, of course, those stereotypes aren’t quite prevalent enough already.  Thank goodness we have those lovely girls at Inky Circus to reinforce them for us!

Do excuse me – I must just go find a spider to scream at.

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4 Comments

Filed under Grr, argh

4 responses to “Why, mercy, I feel a fit of the vapours coming on!

  1. Oh GOD.
    Yeah. So I’ll just toss out all my Sci Ams, then, and subscribe to this one, shall I?
    Do you think they’ll make the cover pink? I find all those manly greys and navies and taupes a bit too taxing. Pink, with babies on it.

  2. Sidheag

    AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!
    Only I could be more convincing at this if I *didn’t*
    systematically read the medical and the environmental
    stories in the science magazines I do read, tending
    to leave out the ones about particle physics. (Once,
    I intended to be a particle physicist. Not sure quite
    what happened. Hormones, maybe )

  3. ruth

    Yeah, and did you see the GCSE results yesterday? Girls beat boys in science by a wide margin. Ha!

  4. Hi there. I thought I’d direct you to this post: http://www.inkycircus.com/jargon/2006/06/deep_thoughts_f.html
    It’s a chicken/egg game that we’ve dealt with before. Are women, in general, drawn more to specific areas of science de novo (more practical, potentially life-impacting or human interest as you say), or have the inherenet biases/sexism in teaching and presentation made some subjects more appealing (let’s all be NURSES, shall we? Or what about nutritionists?!!!)
    But no matter why the bias exists, the majority of women (very much including me) don’t have time for 5000 word features on string theory, the Grand Unified Theory (GUT) or why no one has found the bloody Higg’s Boson (though the amount of money they’re spending over at CERN does crack me up).
    The readership statistics reflect this – from SciAm to New Scientist to Popular Science, all these magazines have heavy male readership biases. Why? We don’t know. Is science less interesting to women? Do we all prefer to spend our precious magazine budget on Heat? Or are we just not getting the balance, tone, story selection, slant and presentation quite right? Is there a way we could talk about all those extra dimensions of space time that will keep eyes like mine glued to a page?
    Loads of science, space, health, technology and environment stories make it into the papers and general magazines..what will it take to get women to buy a science magazine? And by catering to a female audience, with practical/real-world/quirky/fun/cultural/political science at the forefront, could we attract a much wider lay audience in general? Many questions left to be answered. But as humungous science nerds, we want to answer them. Maybe if you bothered to read the blog, not just the about page, you could help out too.

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