This is what a scientist looks like

Me, a scientist

If you were asked to describe a scientist, most of you would probably talk about a middle age man, with grey hair and glasses. He would probably be a bit strange, not a social person and perhaps also a bit crazy.

Really few people would describe a woman, and also fewer would describe a good looking one. In 2016 Banchefsky and collaborators published a paper regarding the public perception on likelihood for feminine women to be scientists. 51 participants looked at 80 photos (40 men, 40 women) of STEM faculties members. Participants were asked to rate each photo according to masculine to feminine appearance, if the person was likable to unlikable and unattractive to attractive. Then, they were asked to rate the likelihood that that person was a scientist or a teacher. Results show that women rated as highly feminine and attractive were given a lower score regarding the possibility of being a scientist.

Since a couple of years the importance of displaying the diversity among scientists has become popular on Instagram and Twitter.

The hashtags to check are the following:

#ThisIsWhatAScientistLooksLike

#ILookLikeAScientist

It is important to underline that scientists are normal people, who are men, women, daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cat lovers, dog lovers, party addicted, Netflix passionate… and the list goes on, just name it.

References:

Banchefsky et al., “But You Don’t Look Like A Scientist!: Women Scientists with Feminine Appearance are Deemed Less Likely to be Scientists”, (2016), https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-016-0586-1

This is what a scientist looks like on Instagram and on Twitter

I look like a scientist on Instagram and on Twitter

Published by Martina Bodner

Biotechnologist, PhD Student in Food Chemistry, High school science teacher, STEM and autism advocate, mother.

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