One Nation, Under Celebrity

A few years ago, when Tina Fey was still on Weekend Update, she did a story about how the education secretary was doing a study on why girls weren’t pursuing careers in math and science. Tina Fey responded with, “Why?” she stood up and continued, “When you got an ass like this you don’t hide it in a lab.”

Now, it’s a joke…and a damn funny one…but when I saw it as a gif on tumblr, I realized how true it is. Where most countries and cultures value succeeding in business and academia…America seems to value succeeding in being vapid.

We don’t care that we’re last among developed countries for education and healthcare, or that most high school students can’t located a foreign country on a map. As long as they look good and can tell you the full name of the newest Kardashian baby….they’re on the right path.

Our government shut down. The House Republican’s held us hostage because of their temper tantrum over ‘Obamacare’ and so 19,000 kids couldn’t go to head start, NASA can’t tell us if an asteroid is headed toward Earth, but their six figure salaries are getting paid and do you know what was trending on Twitter while this was going on? I’ll tell you because social media is my day job:
Congress
New York
#governmentshutdown
#SoundCloud
#music
#momtexts
Chicago
#shutdown
Netflix
Target

I scrolled 3 hours back under the #governementshutdown hashtag and didn’t find a single non news corporation tweet. People just aren’t talking about it. #Obamacare hashtag is snarky jokes mostly by second-rate celebs. Why isn’t there a real conversation on this? This is serious. When Australia had a government shut down the Queen fired parliament. We make jokes?

Why don’t we value information? Why do we buy into this b.s? Why don’t we call these assholes on their lies and manipulations? Why don’t we stand up and say, “You are not making another dime until you put on your big boy pants and fix this mess”? Why? Oh, I know…because Kim Kardashian went out in a really ugly dress and we need to discuss that.



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STEM is the New Sexy

photo of stem pictures

STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These four categories go together like peanut butter and jelly, throw women into the mix and you’ve got peanut butter, jelly, and banana. Sounds a bit weird but it’s really delicious…just give it a try.  I fancy myself a female in STEM, I don’t technically get paid for it, but the majority of my free time is spent researching and reading about science and technology. When Twitter started trending #overlyhonestmethods I thought I died and went to heaven, a bunch of researchers and scientists tweeting about funny things in the lab? What a win.

I find STEM extremely interest but the fact is I’m a rare breed: Among wealthy nations, the United States ranked 23rd in science and 31st in math in standardized tests. Our high-school seniors competed poorly in advanced math and physics. We rank 27th in college graduates with degrees in science and math. That’s the fact. No wonder we’re so behind in the times.

Rebecca Searles and Brittany Binowski have started a STEM mentorship program in the hopes of getting girls interested in STEM.  Brinowski also asked for people to tweet what they think it means to be “a woman in STEM” here’s a taste:

Usually society doesn’t think of women as scientists. The women in STEM are doing a good thing to inspire young women to help them with achieving their goals.
Katya, 15

 

Women in STEM are pioneers. They are trekking in uncharted waters and loving what they do. They go against the grain and emerging just as successful as they gender counterparts. They are my role models.
Som, 17

 

I know that there are not a lot of women in STEM fields; I think those that are are probably more confident than average, as most girls tend to doubt their mathematical abilities. 
Hannah, 16

 

Women in STEM are people who are unafraid of challenges and want a life of innovation.
Isabella, 18

 

When there’s a lack of women, there’s a lack of female input, and a chance that as a country, we’re not performing at our highest potential.
Queenie, 18

 

Perceptions? A woman in STEM is like a man in STEM except the woman identifies as female while the man identifies as male. 
Sophia, 15

How exciting is that? A bunch of teenage girls talking about math and science? It’s oh-so-cool to pretend to be a geek now-a-days but ask one of these hipster-looking-Buddy-Holly-glasses-wearing-I-swear-I-am-a-geek-cause-I-watch-big-bang-theory-and-want-to-be-revleant jerks to explain the big bang theory or a HADRON collider and watch their eyes glaze over. Heck, ask them what JPL is. My money is on the fact that they don’t know. I don’t want fake geeks, I want real geeks. I don’t want you wearing glasses ‘cause you think it’s cute, wear them because your eyes get tired from reading too much data!

We need to step up in this country when it comes to STEM. We’re a celebrity culture and I think that “playing pretend” has leaked into every aspect of our world. Don’t pretend to be smart—be smart. Don’t pretend to be interesting—be interesting. You can still be a real geek and real cool, just ask this guy:



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Feminism in the Classroom–Folly or Fantasy?

Schools in America are open to a tremendous amount of criticism.  Much of it is even deserved.  However, the increasingly tight control of curriculum based on political correctness is an area that is worthy of conversation.

It’s kind of an open secret in education that we sanitize the hell out of things that don’t portray us in the best light.  The Civil War was fought because those fine, noble northerners found the idea of slavery morally reprehensible (forget the economy).  Lewis Carroll had a fabulous imagination that really resonated with children (redact the pedophilia).  Our involvement in Vietnam was a success (I’m not really sure how we’re able to keep that whopper floating–probably by arguing that we’re not all a bunch of communists–but somehow the myth perpetuates).

Therefore, the idea of facing head-on a subject that will without question raise controversy and–oh, my stars!–make kids think is invigorating.

That Feminism falls under that umbrella, though … I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I recently attended a fantastic training on inquiry-based instruction and assessment in an English Language Arts classroom (a fancy way to say “good English teaching”).  The presenter, who teaches at an inner-city school in New York City, shared lots of great strategies, techniques, and resources.

What stood out the most to me, though, was a unit she shared focused around feminism. It was absolutely mind-blowing … everything from evaluating the degree of impact made by Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen to analyzing the philosophies of Mary Wollstonecraft to ..

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I’m Sick of Teachers Banging Their Students

I used to work at a content aggregation site, which that means I would sit on the Internet and find lists of things then repurpose them for our site. I’m not proud of it, but every once in a while we’d come up with an original idea and make a list all our own. Surprising, right? Anyway, one day we made a list of the hottest teachers caught sleeping with their students. The list is currently at 51 teachers. I bring this up because yet another young, attractive female teacher has been caught having an affair with one of her high school students. This got me thinking—what the f*#k?
I understand an older male high school teacher, or even an early twenties male high school teacher having some attraction to his students. Let me explain, I do not think it’s okay for high school teachers to hook up with students but I do understand a man in his early twenties having an attraction to high school girls. High school girls look like they’re in their twenties and most men don’t lose attraction when a girl isn’t intellectually on the same level as them. Men would see a young, supple, attractive girl and be sexually aroused that’s normal and biological. Women are a bit more complicated. I cannot understand a grown woman being attracted to a fifteen year old boy—even an eighteen year old boy. Actually, wait. No. That’s not entirely accurate. I can understand being attracted to an eighteen year old boy that you aren’t around for eight hours a day. Models, actors, singers … sure, they’re attractive with their ripped abs and strong Photoshopped jawlines, but most real eighteen year old boys are gross, immature, and annoying. Why would a twenty-three year old woman be attracted to that?

Moreover, why are there fifty-two known cases of women sneaking fifteen to eighteen year old boys into their homes—homes that they sometimes share with a husband—or their cars to have sex with them? Is an eighteen or fifteen year old that good in the sack? From my memory the answer is no, but then again I’ve never slept with a fifteen year old in my entire life. Seventeen and eighteen, I can vouch for, but not fifteen. What is it, anyway? It can’t be the “affair” aspect, because why wouldn’t you choose a co-worker? It must have some deep psychological root that no article has ever discussed. The articles always focus on the ages, the places, the details (oral, DNA on cushions, in the car, in the bed etc) and how attractive the woman is. I think this proves my theory that it’s hard to understand why an attractive woman, capable of getting with a man her own age, would choose a high school boy.

Maybe they had really great high school experiences and want to relieve it, or maybe they had really bad experiences and want to live a different version of it—but how do you reconcile doing that when you’re twenty-three? Or thirty-one? What is the draw? I couldn’t wait to get out of high school and always dated much older boys because the ones in high school were insufferable. My knickers never dropped for a high school boy. In fact I shudder when I think about the guys I did date when I was in high school, if I could wipe that from my history I would. Can some …

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