Not sure where this originated. All over tumblr though…
On first glance it’s funny; on second glance it’s Yet Another Thing that underscores the gendered expectations of science.
a) the Programmer and the Engineer are both male figures — the Programmer is the only one of the two wearing a tie, but the Engineer is the same figure, and iconography research widely shows that in the absence of any secondary gender characteristics, people read any neutral icon intended to be a person as male;
b) in Western society, those shades of pink and blue are very strongly gendered — pink and blue in general, but those are very particular shades of pink and blue often known as “baby blue” and “baby pink” for their association with gendered items;
c) Unicorns and rainbows are also extremely strongly-gendered concepts, and firmly fall into the category of “girl things” in that gendering. (And most guys in STEM fields probably don’t know this unless they’re paying attention, but most women in STEM fields already wince every time they see unicorn imagery anywhere, because people compare women in STEM fields to unicorns *all the time*: as in, “as rare as”. Search for “unicorn law” to see how it’s used in open source, for instance — women involved in geek feminism have started to try to reclaim it, but many women in STEM fields *twitch* when they see unicorns. Especially unicorns with pink and rainbows.)
d) The two male-gendered figures are using words coded “rational” (in gendered coding, rational = male, emotional = female) — “logical”, “practical” — while the female-coded silhouette (not even an actual woman, mind you: a nonhuman thing that is assigned the gendered attributes of female gender concepts) gets “magical”. Magic = not science. Magic = something that nobody understands, tee hee!
This is about one and a half steps up from “Math is hard, let’s go shopping!” in what it says to girls and young women interested in STEM fields, and it’s subtle things like this that are more damaging than the outright misogynists who say women can’t enter STEM fields. By normalizing science as “male” and automatically making any woman who’s interested in the field feel like she has to transgress her gender, you get things like Maya, age five and a half, who thinks that she can’t like cars and robots and still be a girl.
It’s funny at first, but the unspoken things it’s saying — and normalizing, until anyone who points them out gets told that they’re seeing things or not able to take a joke — aren’t funny at all.
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