Female Scientist Stereotypes in Film

Many people get their impressions of scientists and what scientists do from the movies. Film can depict the realities of careers in science and technology while telling a story about the characters who happen to be scientists. Film is also important in developing and perpetuating society’s myths about scientists. We are all familiar with the cliché of the mad (typically male) scientist in fictional film. But what about female scientists? In a new video series, I explore six stereotypes of female scientists seen in the cinema.

All of these videos are posted on my YouTube channel. I used examples from the movies to illustrate each stereotype, but as you’ll see, I did not use clips from the original movies, but instead created the videos using images in the public domain (or otherwise free to use). I took this approach for several reasons: to avoid any copyright infringement claims, to challenge myself to create videos using only still images and voiceovers, and to aid the viewer in envisioning these stereotypes beyond the specific movie examples I offered.

The following list provides links to the series of videos describing the six stereotypes:

Female Scientist Stereotypes in Film: Introduction

Female Scientist Stereotypes in Film: The Male Woman

Female Scientist Stereotypes in Film: The Old Maid

Female Scientist Stereotypes in Film: The Lonely Heroine

Female Scientist Stereotypes in Film: The Daughter or Assistant

Female Scientist Stereotypes in Film: The Naive Expert

Female Scientist Stereotypes in Film: The Evil Plotter

Female Scientist Stereotypes in Film: Conclusions

If you wish to learn how to create a video using still images (montage), here is a tutorial showing how in the movie-editing app, iMovie:

2 thoughts on “Female Scientist Stereotypes in Film

  1. Thanks for all this work, Karen. I’ve been following your blog for a while now and it’s helped me tremendously. I wanted you to know that since I’m not sure how much feedback you get, and this seems like it’s a passion for you. I’ve promoted your site among professional circles as well.

    • Hi Natalie,

      I can’t thank you enough for writing and giving feedback on my blog. I get a fair number of comments from the general public thanking me for a video tutorial, but not a lot from scientists or science communicators. So, I really appreciate your comments. The series on Female Scientist Stereotypes in Film was something I had been working on for a while. Being both a female scientist and a movie buff, I found it to be a fun exercise.

      And also thanks for promoting my site!

      Regards,
      Karen

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