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Re: Mathematics, the makeover
Posted:
Oct 6, 2010 12:41 PM


> > attracted the > > "most mathsphobic > > girls and helped them to succeed". > > > > A commendable goal, but why, oh why, do we have to do > this through Hollywood stereotypes, sex appeal, > lipstick, and crushes on boys? So now the message is > not that girls have to be like boys in order to do > well in math, it is that girls must be attractive to > boys in order to do well in math. Oh, yeah, that's a > step up. > > Pam
Agreed. Actually I don't know where the stereotype that girls can't do math came from. While I did better in college than any of my three older sisters, I was usually bested by girls at all levels below. My advisor's wife was a full professor at a research university, and my wife is a better mathematician than I am (and has been since, oh, birth just about). I've met many professional lady mathematicians who are firstrate.
I wonder if one undermines the message by putting it out there so aggressively with, as Pam indicates, a lot of distracting "other" messages. A search for Danica McKellar brings up lots of images with lots of skin showing. Maybe that's constructive on balance. Seems muddling to me.
I don't know about her latest book, but I bought one of the previous ones and she's "cute" on the cover, and her use of language is interesting. Again I found it a bit distracting, analogous to Ebonics in that she seemed to go a bit overboard with using "girl talk" to explain math, and sometimes making it more complicated (I thought) than it had to be.
But hey, she's making money.
Still, I give her credit for ostensibly knowing enough math to understand the paper that bears her name.
 Mike D.



