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O noes geeks!

Ryan in my Star Wars club found this odd article:

Geeks drive girls out of computer science

The stereotype of computer scientists as geeks who memorize Star Trek lines and never leave the lab may be driving women away from the field, a new study suggests.

And women can be turned off by just the physical environment, say, of a computer-science classroom or office that's strewn with objects considered "masculine geeky," such as video games and science-fiction stuff.

"When people think of computer science, the image that immediately pops into many of their minds is of the computer geek surrounded by such things as computer games, science-fiction memorabilia and junk food," said lead researcher Sapna Cheryan, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Washington. "That stereotype doesn't appeal to many women who don't like the portrait of masculinity that it evokes...."


Don't wanna say too much more until I can find the original study (the author is from my alma mater - *cringes*). But, it's just such a non-intuitive finding given that I know so many gazillions of women who are basically proud of their geekdom.

And I'm also a bit chary about the potential implications, given you accept this finding. What, are we supposed to design Barbie's Sparkly Computer Lab for Girls, and fill it with pink unicorns? Jeebus.

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Comments

( 7 cousins babbled — babble away! )
avalonjones
Dec. 16th, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)
Did their research consist solely of watching an episode of BIG BANG THEORY?
annlarimer
Dec. 16th, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
Man, that's a lot of weasel words there -- "may," "can," "many women," etc. I am skeptical.

Also, Barbie has had several computer labs in the last decade, and a laptop is a standard accessory in nearly every fashion doll playset.
sakana_hime
Dec. 17th, 2009 06:16 am (UTC)
All I can say is, "NO! BAD RESEARCHER." I would be hesitant to take the results of a single study of 250 students as definitive, though. I think they need a bigger sameple size and also need to evaluate the interests of the students. I mean, I'm a geek but I wouldn't want to be a computer science anything because I'm bad at science-y stuff not because I have a problem with Star Trek posters.

If you do manage to finda link to the study I'd like to read it. I have a strong interest in the phenomenon of gender role stereotyping and the implications of it.
tikistitch
Dec. 17th, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC)
The title of the article is "Ambient Belonging," by Sapna Cheryan et al., and it was published in Journal of Personality and Social Psych, but it looks like they're gonna charge me if I try to read the full text. Anyways, if you have access to a university library, there it is. Looks like literally they brought undergrads into a fake CS lab with or without a Star Trek poster, and if they took away the poster, women suddenly got more interested in CS. Wondering what would happen to male interest if they filled the CS lab with My Little Ponies?
avalonjones
Dec. 17th, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC)
Wondering what would happen to male interest if they filled the CS lab with My Little Ponies?

Well, OBVIOUSLY it would TURN THEM ALL GAY IMMEDIATELY! :D
tikistitch
Dec. 17th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
True that! BEWARE TEH AWESOME POWER OF TEH PONIEHZ!!!!!
spritelyredhead
Dec. 19th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
Because when I think of what defines a man as a TRUE MAN, it's definitely Warcrack, box sets of Babylon 5, and cheese balls.

Just don't ask me how that stuff got onto MY computer desk - it's a conspiracy, I tells ya!
( 7 cousins babbled — babble away! )

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