Monday, May 08, 2006

Stereotypes



So who's this guy? He's a scientist right? Is that how you picture a scientist? Is that how you'd describe a scientist if you were writing about one? OK, so maybe yours is hot, or he's blond, or he's a girl. BUT you'd probably have him/her neat and orderly. Logically minded and conscientious, right? Hard working? Professional? Serious? BORING?

Duh Errrr!!! Buzzer sound.

During my Ph.D. all my friends were scientists, mostly students, post-docs, some technicians, the 'odd' lecturer. I'm trying REALLY hard to think of a single person who fit the stereotype above. Most were hard working. My best friend probably had most of the above characteristics (minus the boring), but would still go out and get blasted on a Friday night--especially if we'd had a hard week. Actually thinking about it, the only true defining characteristic of scientists around the globe is the Friday night 'GIVE ME A DRINK BEFORE I KILL SOMEONE' mentality.

Maybe chemists are like this guy (scratches head--no, the chemists I knew are pretty wild and dangerous people--not always in a good way :)). Physicists? Yeah--I reckon the guy up top is a physicist, although the microscope is pretty dated for quantum theories.

I am so fed-up of reading books about neat, logical, sterile scientists.

The ones I know can drink steel workers under the table, go to strip bars, set fire to their houses (accidentally) and then remember they have no insurance. They travel the world and sleep with cockroaches. They go to church & get me to lie to priests. They have babies, have affairs, make really really dumb mistakes and are generally a lot of fun to be around.

Science is full of politics, sexual attraction, exciting locations, wonderfully complex and rounded people who come from all walks of life. Here's mine :)



17 comments:

  1. Sharks! YIKES!

    I'd love to see a bunch of drunken scientists at a strip club. GOOD fun! :)

    Stereotypes suck.

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  2. I work with scientists and researchers. They look nothing like the one in the pic. Some look a bit mad-professor-ish, others are hot and sexy. And because they're clever too, it makes them all the more interesting. Oh, and we have females too. What could you do with a female scientist/researcher character? She'd need to be hot and sexy as well.

    Interesting question, thanks.

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  3. I hear you Toni. I'm a computer programmer, so need I say more? Most of my friends I graduated with were party animals, and four of us got a house together and met a group of European au pairs. We had girls two to one. If that's what being a geek is all about then tape my glasses and call me Spaz.

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  4. Nice picture. I don't know any scientist, other than the one's portrayed on TV. Where the stereotype is probably to blame.

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  5. Kendra--they are OK as long as they are in the water and you're not!

    Diane--they're all different!! Women too.

    Scott, you computer geeks are all the same, different au pair every night :)

    Peggy, well I probably know more than most but the thing to remember about any person doing any job is they're all different. Some of the smartist people can be ditzy, most are just normal.

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  6. I hate stereotypes and yet we all do it when writing about something we don't know - we rely on what we've heard. I've blogged before about how tired I am about the un-educated, uncouth, loud Texas cowboy; the naive Iowan; the drunken, brawling Irishman, etc.

    You know, Greg on CSI (who has been looking kind of hot lately) doesn't actually fit that stereotype. I used to live with a cousin and her physicist husband and he did like a good party.

    You have a cutie there - and I don't mean the shark.

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  7. I think shows like CSI (all 3 of them) are actually helping society's perception of scientists mature. No longer are they the geek, now they can be H O T and smart. My Dh is a computer geek and trust me, when he is adding applications that make my day easier, he is SEXY to me!!! Your's looks like he can be quite fun, too.

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  8. Stereotypes do suck but I think we are all guilty of it from time to time. It is the unknown so we just assume, or follow what we have heard, which is wrong. I've never met a scientist either and probably would assume one to be like the picture with the guy and the telescope, not meaning any harm. Like my old high school english teach used to say, we have tunnel vision. We need to open the blinders and take in the whole picture. Ok, I rambled on a bit, didnt I? Well, you opened my blinders for me today, Toni. I just love seeing things in a new light and realizing things arent always what they seem.

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  9. That's a stereotype I could live with!

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  10. Eve--I know. I like to keep him on his toes though :)

    Brandy, computer geeks obviously have something (I know Scott agrees, and his wife must too!!).

    Kelley, I think writers should be careful of stereotypes, but then if editors have the same biases how do you persuade them your character is authentic? Well it is hard to change a general perception, but that's what writing fresh is all about.

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  11. I agree Toni. I try to clear my mind of any type of stereotypes before I sit down to write. Its hard, but important. Like the old saying goes, never judge a books by its cover.

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  12. That sounds like the same mentality in my history department when I was getting my MA. Drinkings was an absolute must (although I couldn't since I had a two-year-old to worry about). But there was no stuffy, boring history people there - all fun-loving!

    P.S. - Your scientist is a cutie!

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  13. Melissa they sould like a nice bunch. Hard to get an MA with a young child though! Well done!!

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  14. Hmmm...I notice you didn't mention engineers. I've yet to meet an engineer who didn't fit the stereotype.

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  15. Rene, I had a girlfriend who was an electronic engineer ? She was a biker with tattooes.

    Not sure I knew any other engineers :-/

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  16. Chiming in late here, but if anyone wants to see a movie regarding stereotypes (and racism) I highly recommend CRASH. It stretches your brain in ways you might not have gone before.

    And awesome pic of DH, Toni. Where did that particular specimen come from?

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  17. Meretta--I'm assuming you are referring to the shark? That's a baby bullshark pulled from about 20 miles upstream in the Brisbane river. Most aggressive species in the world and probably the one responsible for most human fatalities.

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