Ghostbusters and Girls in STEM

I saw Ghostbusters yesterday. It was amazing.

I just went on Reddit so I could go talk to other people who had seen the film and how we all loved it, but every comment on the review thread that was positive about the film was getting downvotes. What?!

Ghostbusters – the reboot that everyone is talking about – stars 4 strong women (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Lesie Jones) who team up to fight the ghosts suddenly popping up all over New York. As someone who is usually stone cold during films – even comedy – and rarely emotions (I’m British, don’t judge me) I actually laughed out loud a bunch of times through the film! The bit with Kevin and his glasses? I snorted out my nose. The comedy in it is often run-of-the-mill obvious and cheesy gags but there were a number of subtle pokes that really tickled me.

The negatives for me were: 1. the product placement was ridic and distracting and 2. there were a few contingency issues (like with McKinnon’s character having her hair down for a moment in one scene and then it’s back up again a second later).

The reason why I loved it so much was that it’s SO REFRESHING to have a film in which there are strong female lead characters that don’t have ANYTHING to do with romance. Yeah so we crushed on Kevin a bit, but that was nowhere near a major part of the story.

I loved having successful female scientists there in the limelight. They were just being awesome, doing their thing. And it was amazing.

I mention my job a lot on here, mainly because I love what I do, but it is very challenging at times. I have to not only promote apprenticeships for students, but since we work mainly in IT apprenticeships, I spend a lot of my time going round schools talking to students of all ages about getting into IT. I talk to students about how IT isn’t just about fixing computers, and encourage them to use their coding skills (because – and I’m not even joking – most kids can code now!) to make the new SnapChat or Instagram. Each class I teach, I assign them roles in this company: “OK! Who is going to design this app? Who’s good at being creative? YES YOU! Great! Who would be good at testing it to make sure it has no bugs? You guys! Awesome!” I tell them that they could all be millionaires when they make their new app company, and make sure everyone in the class is involved!

When I go to careers fairs I usually take with me one of our building computers, and set it out on the table for the students to look inside. I teach them about a few components and then we have a race – who can find all those components, take them out and then put them back in again in the fastest time? 9 times out of 10 it’s the girls who beat the boys in this! But they girls will never hang around and talk to me about careers in IT afterwards – it’s always the guys. Out of all of our IT apprentices in the academy, only 2 are girls right now.

Girls need to see awesome women doing STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) roles – cool women who are being awesome and doing their thing. There ARE women talking to girls about being strong but they are presenting themselves as business women and not get-your-hands-dirty technicians.

In the UK at least, there is a big push to get people in STEM roles into schools to help and promote their career paths. This is great, but there needs to be more of a focus on girls taking these routes too. We have a massive skills shortage in these areas, and it doesn’t help that teachers are being put under so much pressure, with maths and science being areas desperately under recruited. We lack these skills in the UK, which will continue if/when the talent from Europe all goes back to their countries and we’re left with what little homegrown skills we have.

But Ghostbusters gave a platform for awesome female scientists for young girls to look up to. There were a lot of young girls in the audience (which was surprising since it was a 12 and was quite scary in places) and I really really hope that they take away the message that it’s cool to go and do these kinds of things themselves. I want more girls to look up to female scientists, like the little girl does to Kristen Wiig in the photo at the top of the page.

If you’ve seen Ghostbusters, please let me know what you thought! I promise not to downvote you if you disagree with me, like the people on Reddit!!

Comments

  1. Preach it sista!
    Kathleen Ralf recently posted…To the Pregnant Woman on the Beach:My Profile

  2. Oh man ghost busters was amazing! I thought I was gonna love Melissa Mccarthy’s character the best but Katie kept making me laugh and snort in the theatre!
    And yeah it was a breath of fresh air to see so many women together in a film Beschdell-ing!

  3. Like I said to you elseweb, my only beef with this movie is that they made it a reboot instead of a sequel to the previous ghostbusters universe. I loathe reboots. Hmph.

    (That said, I really enjoyed the movie.)
    Steven Glassman recently posted…Data RotMy Profile

  4. So glad you liked it because I want to see it!! I might go sometime this week by myself because I want to see it so badly! I really hope this movie shows girls that you can go into science and be tough!
    ~Sara
    Sara Strauss recently posted…Lusting: Lace BralettesMy Profile

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