This 2014 advertisement for GoldieBlox, a company that makes engineering toys for girls, seeks to encourage more girls to go into engineering and related fields, as opposed to only focusing on playing as or becoming “princesses.” The video opens with a girl wearing a white lab coat and butterfly wings over a lavender dress, holding a frying pan and egg, saying, “this is your brain.” She puts the egg on a conveyer belt and the egg travels past a scene with vanity counters and makeup chairs in the background. Her voice says, “this is your brain on princess,” and the egg pauses and is “made up,” with eye shadow, eyelashes, blush, lipstick, a wig, highlights, and a tiara. The made up egg then continues to travel along the conveyer belt past a post it note with a message on it: “at age 7, girls begin to lose confidence in math and science,” and then moves past another note, “at age 13, over half of all girls are unhappy with their bodies.” The egg then falls off the conveyer belt. As the egg slowly falls, the girl’s voice is heard saying, “This is your brain on engineering,” right as the falling egg is caught by a basket on a small Ferris wheel with another note on it: “engineering jobs are growing faster than all other jobs in the U.S.” The egg travels through the Ferris wheel and up an elaborate zip line and mini rollercoaster, passing another note, “female engineers earn 33% more than women in other fields,” and “only 13% of engineers are women.” The egg’s journey ends as it disappears into a small building, where there is a cracking sound and a baby chick appears through the open door, next to another post it note that reads: “girls are more than just princesses…they are our greatest resource.” The girl from the beginning of the commercial is seated nearby, picks up the chick, and asks, “any questions?”
What is this video’s overall message about girls and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields?
How is the egg used to talk about gender? What gender roles and societal expectations and pressures are referenced? How does that impact how girls are viewed and treated, how they feel about themselves, and what they think they can do and be as adults?
What does “this is your brain on princess” mean? How does this compare with “this is your brain on engineering?” Can girls like both princess things and engineering? Why or why not?
Why does this video and toy company specifically target girl inventors and engineers?
When you imagine an engineer in your head, what kind of person do you imagine? Do you think this commercial is effective in challenging those automatic associations?