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Big Bang- Keeping Women Out Of Computer Science

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Has anybody seen this?

 

A recent study by the University of Washington and UC Berkeley claims that TBBT is partially to blame for the lack of interest that young women have in computer science in universities (never mind that there isn't a computer scientist in the show). The study claims that TBBT is enforcing the stereotype of computer scientists as pale, antisocial, desperate, video-game and science-fiction obsessed young men and that this is offensive to young women's sensibilities.

 

Ridiculous!  :angry:

 

http://io9.com/do-geek-stereotypes-keep-women-out-of-computer-science-601879247

 

 

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I think this person in the comments hit the nail right on the head:

 

"Perhaps. Yet most of the shows mentioned do indeed have scientists, some of them women, who have highly valued skills. Yet the focus falls on the perceived negative traits. Also, lets not forget: these are all fictional characters whose traits are exaggerated for either comedy or drama. If your basing life choices on that, then someone needs a reality check.

Besides, everybody geeks out over something."

 

 

I'm also always surprised at how much hate the show seems to get in general and I wonder how much attention people who hate on the show pay to the show. Because I used to be one of those people who would get enraged about the stereotypical portrayals and refuse to watch the show, but when I actually gave it a chance I realized that I had a massive chip on my shoulder. Yes, there are big stereotypes. Yes, it's exaggerated for comedy. And yes, there are plenty of scientists who aren't socially-crippled nerds. But there are also a lot who are. 

 

For example, one of the comments says that the show makes it look as if discoveries in science do not require hard work but that all it takes is some sort of natural genius: but I don't think that was ever the case on the show. None of the guys or girls have made groundbreaking discoveries (yet), they are simply successful in their fields and have been working in it for decades and work A LOT. 

Another comment says that they make "normal" people look dumb by having them being confused by three-syllable words. But the only "normal" person we really get to see is Penny, it's not like the episode is a constant nerds vs normal kind of show. And, besides, there ARE a lot of people like Penny who are confused by three-syllable words.

 

I don't know, I think a lot of commentary on the show seems to focus so much on a superficial idea of what it is about or by looking way too deep in what's meant to be a comedy, not some kind of crusade to set role models for young people.

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I find it hard to relate.  My wife has a BS degree in Computer Science and is a Director in the I.T. department of a high end University.  She also is a big fan of TBBT.   I know that it is anecdotal evidense, but that's what I am going to stick with.  

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base your life based on tv sitcom....  I guess those kind of people don't deserve to be in computer science lol....

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Perhaps they should do a study to see if the real culprit is universities who do stupid studies. 

 

However it is not ridiculous. Given the enormous audience of course TBBT has been a factor but given that the odds are stacked in their favor they could also blame TBBT for being "partially" responsible for the obesity problem.  They would be right on that count too.  If  no one was influenced by TV there would be no reason to spend billions of dollars a year in advertising.

 

So thanks for stating the obvious.   Geez some people have too much time on their hands.

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I am sure that they could also point to TBBT for the increase in people that decide to pursue science degrees, if they wanted to. But I guess bashing is more fun than praising. I also love how they chose to focus on a degree that isn't even ever mentioned on the show. I wonder what the stats are like for physics, engineering, biology and neuroscience. 

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I am sure that they could also point to TBBT for the increase in people that decide to pursue science degrees, if they wanted to. But I guess bashing is more fun than praising. I also love how they chose to focus on a degree that isn't even ever mentioned on the show. I wonder what the stats are like for physics, engineering, biology and neuroscience. 

 

 

I think you would be looking at science across the board though.  I don't think it matters though.  You either have an inclination towards science or you don't.  If you do would you really let a stereotype stop you?  If you are that shallow would you really contribute to a particular science?  I am all for encouraging anyone to pursue science if they are passionate about it but not just to pad some numbers for a gender. 

 

There are programs out there that send accomplished computer science majors and IT professionals into middle schools to talk to the girls to show them it can be cool (far more effectively than Contractual).  I know this for a fact because my wife volunteers in such an organization.  If those same girls turn around and let a TV show influence them away from it I say, no big loss.

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It is also true though that inclination isn't necessarily innate and if you dismiss something from a young age because everyone keeps telling you it's "not for you" you might never discover it. And that is the case for a lot of things beyond degrees. Television does have a role in inspiring young people, that's for sure. But it also can't forcibly alter its depiction of reality for the sake of promoting role models. The fact that there are more men in certain disciplines (or women in others) is a reality, just as there are not as many girls who read comics or play D&D. 

 

What is ridiculous about this study is that it isn't focusing so much on gender per-se, but on a very specific subset of that gender and claiming that women are put off from computer science because of it being a field allegedly full of pale, nerdy, socially-awkward men. Which is one stupid reason to avoid a discipline if I ever heard of one.  And completely ignore the fact that there are and have been several successful female scientists on the show. 

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But wouldn't you discover it in school?  I can only speak for myself but from an early age I knew I was better at math and science than most other subjects.  I was fascinated by how things worked and I took a lot of things apart.  heh

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Maybe they should do a study to see if there has been a drop in comic book sales that they can blame on TBBT.  That's as stupid of an idea as this study.

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But wouldn't you discover it in school?  I can only speak for myself but from an early age I knew I was better at math and science than most other subjects.  I was fascinated by how things worked and I took a lot of things apart.  heh

 

Yes, I was talking about school-aged kids. But they've done some studies on how if girls are being exposed to the idea, even very subtle, that maths and science is "for boys" they tend to get more discouraged when they first bump into difficulties with the subject and are more likely to underperform or drop them later on. Even at the college level. Or that they experience more maths-anxiety and respond worse to either negative or positive feedback (can't remember which one it was).

 

Of course this wouldn't be a factor for people who are stubborn and strong-willed or REALLY passionate about it, but for people that are still trying to figure out what they want to do, in subjects where success is heavily reliant on concentration and focus, if they are constantly worrying that something isn't "for you"  it might even take the enjoyment out of it. And they would be more likely to explain failure away by thinking they're just not hard-wired for it, where all it takes is a little work. 

 

Parents also tend to discourage little girls from doing certain things that might help them discover interests in male-dominated fields in the future. I always wanted those Legos you could build actual mechanical parts, robots and so on with, but my parents never wanted to buy them for me because they were "for boys". Amongst other things. Luckily I always rebelled against gender stereotyping so I didn't let that influence me too much, but had I been less strong-willed who knows what would have happened. And that of course works the other way around with boys too.

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I see what you are saying.  I have to think though that by showing the female scientists as successful TBBT doesn't play much of a role in gender stereotyping just "geek" stereotyping.  I can't remember which sibling does which but if I recall correctly it is Leonard's sister that is the scientist and we are supposed to believe she is more accomplished than Leonard.

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I see what you are saying.  I have to think though that by showing the female scientists as successful TBBT doesn't play much of a role in gender stereotyping just "geek" stereotyping.  I can't remember which sibling does which but if I recall correctly it is Leonard's sister that is the scientist and we are supposed to believe she is more accomplished than Leonard.

 

Yes, I agree, I just went off on a tangent about role models for science. :p But it kind of shows how this study totally missed the point of whatever connection there may be between TBBT, women and science. There's tons of successful female scientists on the show, even ignoring Amy and Bernadette: Beverly, Leslie Winkle, Dr Plimpton, Stephanie (although, ok she was a medic so it might not count). 

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By that logic...(as Sheldon would say)....Mr Bean is English..........so is Mr Bean stopping women from visiting England?

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