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Serafini: No fix to gender stereotypes — yet

| Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, 11:12 a.m.

There has been a Verizon commercial on air since June called “Inspire Her Mind.” It's about how many girls are pushed to focus on their looks instead of their brains.

The minute-long ad follows a girl from toddler-aged to high school who, along the way, is reprimanded for getting her clothes dirty, using a power drill and doing science-related projects.

It ends with the narrator saying, “Isn't it time we told her she's pretty brilliant, too.”

In the past few years, there seems to have been a push for gender equality and to encourage girls to consider STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-related careers.

So it wasn't surprising that people were up in arms when a recent Carnegie Science Center visitor uploaded to social media a photo of a page out of the fall members' magazine featuring upcoming programs for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts that seemed to go against that.

The programs for Boy Scouts involve chemistry, engineering, astronomy, weather and robotics, while the Girl Scouts were offered “Science with a Sparkle,” a program about how chemistry is used to make health and beauty products.

Since the photo circulated, the Science Center released a statement that said even though the workshops were designed to fulfill specific scout badge requirements, any child, regardless of gender and whether or not they are a scout, is welcome to participate in any workshop offered.

This is how it should be, but sadly, there's still that mindset for many people — whether conscious or not.

Over the weekend, my mom and I took my 5-year-old niece to the Children's Museum. We went into the “Garage” room, which features cars and giant tires, a parachute launching pad and a bunch of other things my niece seemed to find interesting.

However, as my mom walked in eyeing all of the hubcaps and wheels and things, she said, “Oh, this must be the boy's room.”

I know she didn't mean anything bad by it, and she didn't care that my niece spent a good hour doing “boyish” activities in the “Waterplay” exhibit, such as building pipes and watching how water moved through them.

But we need to stop expecting all girls to like makeup, dolls, dress-up and the colors purple and pink, and boys to enjoy trucks, action figures and the color blue.

Kristina Serafini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1405 or kserafini@tribweb.com.

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