Saturday, 23 June 2012

Epic fail by the European Commission

The European Commission (EC) has a rather laudable desire to get more women interested in science, and are trying to promote the cause. Overnight they released a teaser video:

Unsurprisingly, scorn was heaped upon them for objectifying girls, promoting stereotypes, and having models prancing aroung in front of an ogling older man. Some thought it was a joke. An EC spokesperson tweeted:

It seems that they were starting to realise they may have made a mistake, and had started to try to spin it. As scorn continued to pile upon them, the spokesperson decided to double down. Out came another tweet:

That was the last tweet from Mr Jennings. No apology, just trying desperately to rationalise the failure.

Only a matter of hours later, someone at the EC seems to have marked the video private, taking it away from public view and wiping away the criticism in the YouTube comments. Fortunately someone else captured the video, which is why it can still be viewed. A different EC twitter account then tweeted:

Still no apology for dumbing it down for the girls, and they're trying to usurp the criticism hashtag #realwomeninscience. The EC is copping a hammering online, with a great deal of well-deserved piss-taking, such as:

If you read through the Twitter hashtag #sciencegirlthing it is amusing reading. It's all a spectacular, gob-smackingly cringe-inducing failure. We've seen the attempt to try to spin it as a way to get attention, and I guess it has - for all the wrong reasons. But the people responsible really should be embarassed. Fortunately the online pro-science community's mockery of the video should make a good thing come from it. There are some good profiles of women in science on the EC's website, although the producers still felt the need to push the pink lipstick bit at the end of them.

Related reading:
And I'm sure there's a lot of other amusing reading about this epic fail yet to appear.

Update: Way back in 2010, SMBC posted this cartoon:

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