I got to write about my childhood heroine, Ellie Arroway, for btchflcks.com’s Women Scientists week! I take a personal look at how she affected my career track as well as the inherent sexism she experiences in a male-dominated professional field, and how the film treats her character overall as an example of much-needed female representation.
That’s what girls need to see: the normalization of women as protagonists, as professionals, as figureheads of heroism. Viable, easily seen examples that women belong in the worlds of science and technology, that the fields aren’t exclusive boys’ clubs. A woman can achieve breakthroughs in math and physics. A woman can raise her voice and fight for her beliefs. A woman can serve as representative for the best of humanity.
More than anything, she can succeed in the face of overwhelming societal pressures trying to undermine her choices — just like social norms dictate what young women can and can’t do. Pink is for girls, blue is for boys; you play with dolls, not trucks. It’s impractical to be a scientist, or an engineer, or a radio astronomer.