Aka: See, told you I’d use the art history minor someday.
Well, apparently, it turned into The Full NaNo, because I have a complete first draft. It is an absolute piece of crap. But it’s a piece of crap I didn’t have 24 days ago. A piece of crap that has some potential. A piece of crap I think I can make shine.
Final word count: 50,023.
Time to get working on the massive re-outlining project.
Time to get started for real, kids.
Congrats to those of you who are done and a loud and proud, “YOU CAN DO IT!” to those who will finish in the coming days.
Just a quick one, since I’m dangerously close to being late for work:
Thanks to everyone who read the rant about science toys yesterday. I appreciate each and every one of you for taking the time and also for the great responses.
Several people sent me a link to the Goldie Box ad making the viral rounds at the mo, and I appreciate that was well. When I first saw the video, I was in complete agreement with their, “But, hey, look at this!” sentiments. I did, in fact, repost it to my Facebook wall and to my mom. I would love this company to grow and thrive.
And learn what I learned in the museum shop.
I love that an engineer (who happens to be female) is marketing an engineering toy to girls and that those girls can be pretty in pink and jam to the Beastie Boys while they build a massive Rube Goldberg machine.
That commercial, however, is a fuckton of pink and not a lot else.
Check out the website. Acknowledging the company is still in the startup phase, take a look at the offerings. There is nothing in any of those kits a girl can’t do with tinker toys and rubber bands. Everything is pink and purple or pastel.
Take a look at their mascot. While the one on the “collectors edition” of kits looks a little more in line with the girls the company is trying to reach, the mascot on the website, who is also the one featured in the ad, and who is on the majority of the products, has perfectly coiffed blonde hair, a smattering of freckles, and is abnormally symmetrical and pretty.
She is Engineer Barbie.
And there’s nothing wrong with being engineer Barbie.
I don’t think my daughter should feel like she has to be. I don’t want that to be her only option.
And I don’t want my son to think that’s what she should be.
And now, I must away…
Or a bunch of words where my fingers are anyway.
The blog post today seems to have generated some interest.
And I can talk. But if I’m going to talk, I should do.
The novel I’m writing now: fully fleshed out female characters. Fully fleshed out male stories. NO LOVE STORY. Everyone stands on their own.
Can she do it?
We’ll find out.
My daughter is almost seventeen months old. This is about the age at which we started “doing science” with our son, who is now almost four, taking robotics classes, and learning about binary coding via beaded bracelets. By the time he was two, the boy could identify all of the planets, knew what the periodic table was, and was using logical, if not entirely correct, deductive reasoning (Me: Izzy, what’s your favorite element? Izzy: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. Because if one planet was also an element, all planets were elements.
Thus, I’ve been looking for beginning science toys for the girl. And in my search, I have discovered several troubling things:
1) There aren’t many science toys for little kids, period. How this escaped me when the boy was younger I’m not sure, though I may have had more time to make toys as I was only working part time.
2) The toys that do exist are expensive and sort of lame.
The most troubling discovery, however?
3) Science toys are gender specific. And not only are there more for boys than there are for girls, and not only are the boys’ toys more varied, and just plain better, they are very clearly aimed at boys. The girls’ toys, by contrast, are centered around makeup and cooking and are packaged in sparkly pink boxes shoved down at the end of the aisle.
It’s bad enough going in to Toys R Us and realizing there are actually (yes, actually, in 2013) pink aisles and blue aisles (pink legos and blue legos. And don’t get me started on the way Transformers and Hello, Kitty! are as across the center dividing line from one another as Democrats and Republicans). Never mind it’s only very, very (like a month ago) recently the company announced their intention to de-gendergate their stores. (I will not, mind you, be shopping there again ).
Corporate strategy, blah blah blah, I think it’s crap but horse was flogged into oblivion long ago, I’m sure.
Today, though, today, November 21st, 2013, I went into the museum shop at the Carnegie Science Center and saw this:
What it is? I’ll tell you friends:
It’s a very obvious, and very minuscule, “girl’s” section at the end of a wall of science kits.
At the fucking Carnegie Science Center. Where a great number of the staff are female. Where the girls in the robotics class the Boy is taking outnumber the males.
I have nothing, and I mean nothing, against being female OR feminine. I like to dress up, I generally wear at least a little makeup when I leave the house, I have a decent jewelry collection. Two different hair products, even. It is moderately important to me that my purse match my shoes and very important that my shoes match my outfit. As someone who developed acne in her mid-twenties and who has to wax her eyebrows once a week so as not to transform into a werewolf on the full moon, I appreciate spa science. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to learn how to mix nail polish or make chocolate, or make perfume. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a girl-y girl.
But why is the science, for lack of a better word, segregated along gender lines? And I mean visibly. There is a visual break between the blue and green of the “boy’s” section and the screaming, vomit-inducing fuchsia of the “girl’s.” Which is, in case you missed it, shoved down at the end of the wall.
Is that what my daughter is supposed to think about her interactions with science? That her chemistry should be funneled into makeup? Her biology into man-attracting pheromones? Her physics into, well, nothing because why would we encourage girls to do math? (sarcasm, children, sarcam)?
And lest we forget the boys: is that what I want my son to think about women in science? Or, worse yet, what if he wants to make nail polish or chocolate or perfume? What if that’s what he wants do to with his love of science? Will he have to sneak into the “girl’s” section like a pervert into a late night theatre?
That wall, the mere fact it exists, tries to shove both of my kids into neat little boxes.
Sorry, wall. I’m teaching them to follow their hearts and their dreams, their loves, their bliss, as it were, not to contort themselves to fit into your pink and blue boxes.
And if this were less of a little box world, there might be a whole lot more happy.
My son thinks Hello, Kitty is cool. He loves Ladybug Girl and Olivia. He enjoys baking with me. My daughter likes dinosaurs. She us much more likely to be covered in mud at the end of the day and tear into a piece of meat like a feral dog. She can identify Batman and Captain America. He likes bugs and slime and thinks farting is hilarious. She picked a hot pink sword at the Ren Faire, runs right over to the jewelry case at the Conservatory, and also thinks farting is hilarious.
And that’s how it should be. Some from column A, some from column B, and some from a totally different menu altogether.
The world is too big and too awesome, and there’s too much cool stuff in it, to spend any time in a box.
Unless you’re turning the box into a castle. Or a kitchen. Or a pirate ship.
Can my daughter make nail polish if she wants? Sure.
Does she need a sparkly, pink and pastel periodic table to draw her in?
She absolutely does not.
Can she have one if she wants it?
Yes, she can.
Is that all she should consider doing with science?
And if she wants to blow shit up in a lacy pink ball gown and high heel wearing a tiara?
Power too her.
Can my son recreate the smell of a fart using chemicals? I hope he does it when I’m at work.
Can he do it wearing a pink shirt? Fuck yeah, pink is the new black.
If he wants a pink, sparkly, pastel periodic table? He can have one.
Can he make slime and goop? Definitely.
Is that all he should consider doing with his science?
And if he wants to do it all it a lumberjack outfit?
Or in a tutu?
He can do that also.
Am I making my point?
For those of you subjected to my rant on Natalie Portman being elected the spokesperson for Marvel’s women in science initiative, all the stuff above is why stunts like that bug the crap out of me. Is she a smart woman, yes. She went to Harvard, wonderful. But she only plays a scientist, one who is, quite obviously, a plot device for a Norse god, which means she doesn’t count as a scientist. If Marvel wants to encourage girls in science, great. Fund the work of some actual scientists. And don’t forget about the boys, damn it. They’re watching too. This isn’t an either or sort of a thing, kids.
It’s about boxes.
And the fact it’s time to recycle all of them.