Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Why do women undermine themselves? (The invisible bike helmet video)

So you might have seen this video about the "Invisible Bicycle Helmet" current doing the rounds.

Don't get me wrong, I think the invention is great even if a few issues such as landing on your face aren't quite sorted out. What I want to discuss is the video. I was enjoying it until they started saying things like 'no-one expected girls to be able to do this'. Total face-palm. Way to promote the stereotype. 

But there is a broader issue here. Being female has nothing to do with it and they are unknowingly reinforcing the idea that a woman has to be somehow 'special' to achieve something like this. The message definitely got confused for me, especially when they started showing images of the shoes they were wearing. I mean... what!?

I'd like to know who these mysterious people are who think women can't do things... because as far as I can tell they don't exist. As far as I can tell it's only ever women who say 'no-one expected us to do this because we're women'. This is my whole problem with a lot of 'women in science/engineering' stuff. By making out like there's something special about your achievements because of your gender, you're undermining the whole achievement. 

This attitude of 'well obviously, if I were a man this would have been easy, but because I'm a woman, it was hard' is not OK in situations where gender makes no difference - like doing technical work, designing new products, running a business etc... 

Making out like this is gender-related also belittles discussions about things which really do make a difference to careers that really are different for men and women. Things like having to bear children in your womb, for instance.

A decent idea... with strange marketing.

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