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Science Cheerleaders: Give Us an S, T, E, M! (Video)

Science Cheerleaders: Give Us an S, T, E, M! (Video)

Go science!

Or rather, go scientists. The Science Cheerleaders are 175 former NFL and NBA dancers who are scientists and engineers, mathematicians, IT professionals, molecular science Ph.Ds. That is, these ex-professional cheerleaders all have now had to “lower their standards” and †work in the STEM fields, in science, technology, engineering and math, as† tongue-in-cheekly puts it on CNET.

Here are the Science Cheerleaders performing at the US Science and Engineering Festival in what Jezebel describes as the “perfect antidote for that crappy EU†Science: It’s a Girl Thing! video we all rolled our eyes at a month ago”:

According to their website, the Science Cheerleaders aim to “playfully challenge stereotypes, turn everyone onto science by encouraging participation in citizen science activities, and inspire young women (including 3-4 million U.S. cheerleaders) to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math,” while making the point that, yes, “science is accessible to ALL!”

It’s no secret that women are under-represented in the STEM fields. Just recently, a student (an English major) sat in my office and said she regretted that she hadn’t had a stronger foundation in science in high school and earlier, as she could see that jobs in the STEM field (vs. in journalism) were numerous and well-paying and, even more, seemed interesting. She was well aware of the numerous courses in math, biology, chemistry and physics she had never taken and, two years into her college studies, cannot suddenly change her major and stay beyond her scholarship.

But I do have to agree with Jezebel that

It’s a shame that it takes a team of dancing Disney Princesses to give girls permission to want to enter the fields of science and technology (you can do it because conventionally beautiful women do it!), but it’s also a shame that smart women can’t be pretty, and pretty women can’t be smart.

Why does it even need to be said that “yes, smart women can be pretty!” or “women can both be professional dancers wearing skin-tight spandex-y cleavage revealing outfits AND chemical engineers!”? It shouldn’t be news that women can look good and be smart.

As some of the commenters on Jezebel note, their 7-year-old selves would have loved the idea of Science Cheerleaders. Isn’t it at such a young age that we hope to get girls interested in science? Even more, the image of cheerleading as all pom-poms and short skirts has changed much, with many arguing that cheerleading should be a sport in its own right.

Are Science Cheerleaders what we need to get young women interested in the STEM fields? Or, even as they seek to fight stereotypes about “beauty vs. brains,” are they only reinforcing these?

Related Care2 Coverage

Science is a Girl Thing if itís Pink and Sexxxy

Teaching Feminism: Why Should We?

Why We Need More Girl Nerds

 

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Photo by ShashiBellamkonda

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48 comments

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11:17AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

hmmm...

10:09AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

Cheerleaders have traditionally flaunted their sexuality at the biggest, most aggressive and potentially violent males. Behavior that's very similar to female mountain goats and lowland gorillas. Not sure what that has to do with science and math, let alone public education for that matter. And what's with "Funky 49" in the photo? Is he some kind of token "science nerd?"

9:54AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

honestly, a bit disappointed. i was hoping there was one place where women could excel and not have to wiggle or sparkle or bounce.

12:56AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

What a clever way to get young girls interested in math and science. My father was my cheerleader. He encouraged all of us kids to go for math and science regardless of sex. I eventually earned a MS in Administration and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies. That's pretty common for women today but not for young ladies of back in the 50s and 60s.

3:59AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Thanks

3:18AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Thanks

2:47AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

thanks

10:51PM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

Beauty, brains and boobs...what a combination! Somehow we still manage to remind ourselves of those stereotypes.

10:00PM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

Oh what fun!

7:28PM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

thanks a bunch.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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